Dawkins retires an Eagle, number to be retired

Dawkins retires an Eagle, number to be retired
April 28, 2012, 4:32 pm
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No Eagle will ever wear No. 20 again.

The Eagles on Saturday officially announced that Brian Dawkins' number will be retired. Dawkins will become the eighth player in team history to have his number retired, joining Steve Van Buren (15), Tom Brookshier (40), Pete Retzlaff (44), Chuck Bednarik (60), Al Wistert (70), Reggie White (92) and Jerome Brown (99).

The retirement ceremony will be held at halftime of the Eagles game Sept. 30 against the Giants on Sunday Night Football.

"I hope the whole nation gets to see it, because there's none better -- never has been," owner Jeffrey Lurie said.

In a moving event Saturday at the NovaCare Complex attended by his friends and family, Lurie and head coach Andy Reid, several former teammates -- including Donovan McNabb -- Dawkins signed a one-day contract and officially retired as an Eagle.

After the ceremony opened with an exhilarating montage of Dawkins' highlights from his 13 years with the Eagles, Lurie took the podium.

"Anybody who knows me knows this is one of my personal favorites in my whole life of watching football, forget owning the team," Lurie said. "I think for all of us, and the city of Philadelphia, and all of our fans, the teammates, the coaches -- he epitomized and does epitomize everything we love about this sport.

"I'm a little emotional talking about this, because we're talking about Brian Dawkins here. I think the thing to take away here is that we're retiring somebody who is incredibly special both on the field and off the field. There have been great, great players who came through Philadelphia and meant so much to this city, but I don't know if anybody ever connected to the fans of this city the way Brian Dawkins has. It's been unbelievable."

Dawkins signed the contract, and Reid spoke briefly before yielding the podium to his former safety.

"He put everything he had into this game, and now it's done," Reid said. "That candle has been blown out, and he gets to start this second phase. And as fired up as I was to see him play every Sunday, I'm even more fired up to see what he does with his second half, and he's going to dominate this half just like he did the last half. Congratulations to him. We all love Brian Dawkins. That's why we're in this room today."