By Steven Lienert
The Phanatic Magazine
Nationally, this is like watching Emmitt Smith put on a Cardinals uniform, Pete Rose hustling for the Expos or Michael Jordan dunking for the Wizards.
For Philadelphia, this is Steve Carlton in a Twins uniform, Jeremiah Trotter playing for Dan Snyder and the Redskins or Harold Carmichael walking out of the home team’s tunnel at Texas Stadium.
It just ain’t right.
Early last evening, Brian Dawkins ended his tenure as an Eagle.
Somewhere in Colorado, Dawkins will say his prayers, thank the Man upstairs for being so blessed and lay down to sleep knowing that Philadelphia is in his rear-view mirror.
At the same time two time zones east, in taprooms across the City of Brotherly Love, Eagles’ fans will mourn the loss of their leader.
Brian Dawkins in a Broncos uniform? It just ain’t right.
I have no idea how these events came to pass. The Eagles had enough money to sign Dawkins and save themselves a public –relations hit of epic proportions. Instead, they let the heart and soul of the team walk away to finish his career in Denver. What?
Maybe Dawkins didn’t like the Eagles’ offer. Maybe he asked the Eagles to match Denver’s offer and they declined. Maybe the Eagles never offered Dawkins anything in the first place.
With how forth-coming the organization normally is, we may never truly know how or why Dawkins’ departure came to pass.
The fact of the matter is that Brian Dawkins is no longer here. This was Dawkins’ team.
Whose team is it now? Donovan McNabb’s? Brian Westbrook’s? Sheldon Brown’s?
Dawkins had this commanding presence about him that made people believe in and buy into what the coaches were saying. He set the example of the way things should be done. Who will do that now? More importantly, who commands that type of respect from every corner of the locker room?
Last season, the Eagles’ defense played the way it did because it wanted Dawkins to go out on top. Maybe they already knew something we didn’t.
With the loss of Dawkins, the Eagles lost more than just a safety. There’s no one they can draft or a free agent they can sign that will fill the position vacated by Dawkins.
Denver visits the Linc next season, so Eagles’ fans will get to vent their frustration regardless where it’s directed.
Something tells me there will be one or two Dawkins’ jerseys in the stands, which may make a statement that not even Joe Banner could ignore.
Steve Lienert can be reached at email@example.com.