Brian Dawkins retires as a Philadelphia Eagle

April 28, 2012 7:03:52 PM PDT
Brian Dawkins went back to his roots, signing a one-day contract to officially retire as a Philadelphia Eagles player.

Dawkins initially announced his retirement from the NFL via his Twitter account on Monday.

In a press conference Saturday morning, Eagles' team owner Jeffrey Lurie stood close by as the veteran safety signed the one-day contract.

"I think for all of us, the City of Philadelphia and all of our fans, teammates, coaches - he epitomizes everything that we love about this sport?I don't know if anybody ever connected to the fans of this city like Brian Dawkins has," said Lurie.

Lurie also announced that the team will retire Dawkins' No. 20 at their Sept. 30 game against the New York Giants.

After signing the contract, Dawkins took to the podium thanking his family, the fans, and former coaches for their support over the years. "I'm blessed to be able to come here and retire an Eagle - it's the place that I started," he said.

Dawkins was especially emotional when talking about Jim Johnson, the former defensive coordinator for the Eagles who passed away in 2009. "Along this journey this great man saw something in me Jim Johnson...he believed in me," he said tearfully.

Dawkins also took time to reflect on his success, saying he could never have taken it for granted.

"Playing 16 years of national football - so many people would love to do that for a living. I can't take that for granted. I didn't deserve that, the Lord blessed me with ability so I went out and gave everything that I had," said Dawkins.

Eagles' players past and present were in attendance at Saturday's press conference and had nothing but admiration for Dawkins.

"It was tough playing against him?you had so many great players surrounding him. The hardest hit I ever took was against Brian Dawkins," said Michael Vick.

"I think its playing with a guy like Mike Jordan on the team. You see his passion, determination ,aggression on the football field and I was glad I was on his side of things," said Donovan McNabb.

A beloved player by Philadelphia fans and players alike, Dawkins said the time he spent as a Eagles player will be a part of him forever.

Dawkins spent his first 13 seasons with the Eagles before signing with the Denver Broncos.