Brian Dawkins, possibly the most popular Eagles player in a generation, officially retired Saturday morning in an emotional press conference.
After officially signing Dawkins to the contract that would enable the All-Pro safety to retire as an Eagle, team owner Jeffery Lurie announced that Dawkins' No. 20 would be retired at halftime of the Eagles' Sept. 30 home game against the New York Giants.
"He epitomized everything we love about this sport," Lurie said in his introductory remarks. "I don't know if anyone connected with the fans of this city the way Brian Dawkins has."
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When his turn came to speak, Dawkins grew emotional when he mentioned the name of the late Jim Johnson, the former Eagles defensive coordinator who passed away in 2009.
"The reason I was so effective in crunch time," Dawkins said, "was that Jim kept calling my number in crunch time. And Jim called my number because he knew that I would do whatever I had to do to ensure his blitzes went home."
Dawkins also thanked his ex-teammates, a number of whom were at the press conference. Among them were Donovan McNabb, Jeremiah Trotter, Mike Mamula, Michael Vick, Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and David Akers.
In all, Dawkins started 182 of the 183 games he played for the Eagles, recording 723 solo tackles, 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles, and 21 sacks.