Notes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame news conference
CANTON, Ohio (AP) Known as Weapon X when he was a dominant safety, Brian Dawkins recognizes it could have been Weapon P, as in Philadelphia.
Dawkins, who enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, spent 13 seasons as the leader of the Eagles defense, the emotional center of a team that made four straight NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. The connection with Philly will never fade for a guy who grew up in Florida and attended Clemson.
”They loved me and they will be here to be inducted together with me,” Dawkins said Friday about Eagles fans and the city he grew to love. ”I made it and now they have made it and will experience the Hall of Fame. Enjoy it.
”I played with emotion and passion. The other thing is they recognized I don’t make mistakes. You can boo me for one thing I did wrong, but you won’t ever boo me again because I would not make it again.
”I gave 100 percent of my 100 percent every game. I didn’t back down from anyone or anything in a football game. I was a worker who didn’t make excuses, and that’s Philly.”
Dawkins, who closed out his career with three seasons in Denver, where he also was supremely popular, made five All-Pro teams and was voted the Eagles’ defensive MVP five times. He said making the hall never was on his mind until very late in his career.
”I was thinking it would be cool and wonderful if that happened,” he noted, ”but I didn’t understand at that point it could be possible.”
Hey Brian, it’s possible and true.
WHO’S AN OLD MAN?
Randy Moss is 41, the same age his quarterback during Moss’ greatest season, Tom Brady, reached Friday. Brady shows no signs of slowing down, and Moss believes he could still be effective at wide receiver at his advanced (for football) age.
”My last year (2012 with San Francisco), I didn’t really get the chance to show I could still play,” Moss said. ”At 41 now, I still could play and believe I could score 10 touchdowns. The game itself came easy and I really feel that I could bring that much to the game.”
In his final season, Moss had only 28 receptions and three scores. During his heyday with Minnesota and then New England, he was the most dangerous deep threat in the sport. In 2007, when New England went unbeaten before losing the Super Bowl to the Giants, he had a stunning 23 touchdowns on 98 receptions, gaining 1,493 yards. He was targeted 160 times by Brady that year.
”It was a great ride,” Moss said.
CHUCK NOLL AWARD
The South JeffCo Mustangs from Littleton, Colorado are the winners of the Chuck Noll Hall of Fame Game for Life Award.
The group will be presented with a $10,000 check from The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation.
The award, established last summer, recognizes 50 youth football leagues around the country for their commitment to coaching education; best practices in player safety; teaching lessons about how to win rather than emphasizing winning; and nurturing a culture that celebrates preparation, discipline, accountability and respect through the fun and fitness of football and how it applies to success beyond the field.
Former NFL player Merril Hoge created the award to celebrate the legacy of Noll, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who transformed the Pittsburgh Steelers from a downtrodden franchise to one of the most dominant teams in NFL history.
If there have been two more passionate defensive players in recent NFL annals than Ray Lewis and Brian Dawkins, they’re hard to identify.
They never were teammates on the Ravens, the only team Lewis played for, but enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame together in the class of 2018. What if they had been on the field together?
”With all the energy he exudes and all I exude,” Dawkins said, ”it would’ve been tough on the other guys (to match). I would’ve loved to have played with him, but man.”
Lewis, who has campaigned for Ed Reed to make the hall when the former Ravens star safety becomes eligible, also has the utmost regard for Dawkins.
”I knew he had a similar chip on his shoulder and that’s why I love BDawk,” Lewis said. ”He’s one of the guys I’d love to have played with. I can’t imagine a football field with me and BDawk on the field together.
”It’s an honor to go into the Hall of Fame with a guy like Brian Dawkins.”
WILL THE TEARS FLOW?
Brian Urlacher says there’s no threat of crying when he practices his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech. As for when he delivers it …
”When I go over it, I am OK,” Urlacher explained. ”But all the guys are telling me I am going to cry during the speech.”
Lots of inductees do, even the toughest of former players. So Urlacher would join a long list of weepers.
Some have joked about an over/under number for how many times Ray Lewis breaks down.
As for Brian Dawkins, he guarantees he’ll cry.
”Tear up? No question. The people I will talk about meant so much to me,” he said Friday at a news conference. ”I’m about to cry now.”
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