It's hard to watch certain players age. When a guy spends so much of his career proving just how much better he really is than his competition, the final years can be an awkward, sometimes painful experience.
Brian Dawkins Was an Elite Pass Rusher Right up to the End
May 4, 2012, 9:22 am
Tim Tebow has not played in the NFL since 2012, when he was a backup quarterback for the New York Jets. (USA Today Images)
Fans always want to remember their favorite athletes in their primes, and not for their inevitable declines once time begins to erode their skills.
Brian Dawkins spent the final three years of his career not as an Eagle, but as a Denver Bronco. And in his final season as a professional football player, before he decided to sign a final contract and retire an Eagle, Dawkins proved, according to one study, that although he had gotten older, there were guys still in their primes who couldn't match him.
ProFootballFocus has published a list of the best pass rushing defensive backs of 2011. Sitting atop the list, Dawkins was, by their numbers, the most productive of the bunch, pressuring the quarterback 13 times on 44 pass rush snaps. The productivity rating isn't misleading either, as Dawkins' 44 attempts were the second-most in the top 10, and his 13 pressures the second-most in the league.
Weapon X. One of the best -- and in certain areas, the best -- right up until the end.