Veteran safety Brian Dawkins is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons.
Arguably the greatest Eagles safety ever, the 38-year-old will return to Lincoln Financial Field to retire an Eagle in front of the home fans, the team announced Monday afternoon.
Dawkins originally posted the news on his Twitter account Monday, thanking God, the teams he played for, his coaches and teammates and fans. Dawkins spent his first 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last three with the Denver Broncos.
He suffered a serious neck injury in December that sidelined him for the stretch run and the Broncos' two playoff games.
"I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing in me," he tweeted. "I would like 2 thank all my teammates & coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that I have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL."
On Monday, CSNPhilly.com Eagles beat writer Reuben Frank reported that Dawkins told the Eagles he’ll retire with the team. Philly.com writer Jeff McLane also reported that the Eagles would honor Dawkins on Sept. 30 in a nationally televised game against the New York Giants.
The team verified all those details in a press release sent to the media around 1:30 p.m.
"Brian Dawkins is one of my all-time favorite players and one of the best to ever put on an Eagles uniform," Lurie said in that press release.
Dawkins would play a team-record 183 games and snag a team-record 34 interceptions with the Eagles after they drafted him the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was named to seven Pro Bowls, a five-time All-Pro and averaged nearly 100 tackles a season in 13 seasons with the Birds.
"On the field, in many ways, Brian re-invented the safety position," Lurie added. "He had the speed and athleticism to line up against the game’s best receivers, and was equally effective in the run game. His love for the game was infectious and he poured his entire heart and soul into everything he was doing from the moment he entered the stadium until he left. Everyone who ever watched Brian play saw that and it was impossible not to love that about him."
Eagles head coach Andy Reid calls B-Dawk a Hall of Famer and an all-time Eagles great:
“The NFL will miss a player as talented, ferocious, and determined as Brian Dawkins. He was one of the most dedicated and hardest working players I have ever coached. Whether it was on the practice field, the film room or the weight room, Brian always put in the extra hours it took to become the star player that he was. And he transferred all of that and more onto the field on Sundays. He poured everything he could into doing whatever was best for his teammates and this organization. He was the unquestioned leader of our defense. He will go down as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time and I have no doubt we’ll be celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I wish he, his wife Connie, and his family all of the best during the next phase of their lives.”