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Eagles Legends Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb Among Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st-Year Nominees

Brian Dawkins and Donovan McNabb, who both retired after the 2011 season, are among nine first-time nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Hall announced Wednesday evening.

Dawkins was picked to seven Pro Bowls as an Eagle and two more with the Broncos during his 16-year career. McNabb went to six Pro Bowls, all with the Eagles.

Dawkins and McNabb, who have both had their numbers retired by the Eagles, were the keys to the Eagles teams that from 2000 through 2008 won 10 playoff games, reached five NFC Championship games, had the best record in the NFC and reached the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.

Dawkins was a second-round pick in 1996 and McNabb a first-round pick in 1999.

In his 13 years with the Eagles, Dawkins had a club-record-tying 34 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, 36 forced fumbles and 26 sacks.

With his crunching hits and fiery presence, Dawkins became one of the most popular Eagles of all time. He added three more interceptions and five sacks with the Broncos, where he played his last three seasons.

Dawkins is one of six players in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions. Former teammate William Thomas is also in that group.

Dawkins, who now works in the Eagles’ front office, was a guest on Comcast SportsNet's Quick Slants last month and spoke about his visit to the Hall of Fame with the Eagles in 2006 and what it would mean to him to become a Hall of Famer.

“I remember the feeling that I felt looking at the busts, seeing all those guys and seeing the hallowed walls as they call it, the hallowed hallway of all those busts, and to just imagine myself being in there," he said.

"I could do that because at that point I had put some good years together. That would be a tremendous oppportunity and a tremendous thing for not just me, it's not just me. I know you always thank your teammates and all that stuff, but this fan base as well, because they deserve a lot better than what people give them. They don't give this fan base the benefit of the doubt. 

"I just know that this fan base deserves to celebrate. So if I get into that Hall of Fame, you think that I will be the only one celebrating? No. We're going to have a good time. We're going to have a party."

McNabb had a 92-49-1 record in 11 years with the Eagles. He threw 216 touchdowns and just 100 interceptions and was the winning quarterback in nine of the 19 playoff wins in franchise history.

McNabb finished his career with the Redskins and Vikings, winning only six of 19 starts in 2010 and 2011.

"I love the fact that my name would be mentioned with some of the great players who will get in and some who may not … but who will get in eventually," McNabb said in the spring in an interview with Talk of Fame Radio.

"I think if you look overall at the numbers of all the players that will be up for the Hall of Fame, it shows the success that we’ve had over our careers … the teams that we’ve played with. [But] one thing we forget to take into account when it comes to the Hall of Fame — because it’s individual — [is that] it says a lot about the coaches we played for [and] the systems that we we're a part of. 

"So many times kids come out of college, and they’re Heisman-trophy candidates, Player of the Year candidates … and then they get to the wrong system. And then all of a sudden they fade away. You really don’t hear about them. I was fortunate enough to be with Andy Reid and a great system with the West Coast offense, where he was able to be patient and allow me to develop into the quarterback that he expected me to be and that I wanted to be myself. 

"So to hear my name mentioned with some of the great players in 2017 Hall of Fame voting is outstanding. I’ve always told people that, ‘Hey, if I don’t get in, we’ll have a party ever year.’ I’ll have my own gold jacket because to me I didn’t play for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t play for the individual accolades. I played for team success."

Terrell Owens, McNabb’s favorite target during the 2004 Super Bowl season, is also among the 94 nominees. He was a finalist last year.

In all, 94 nominees for the Hall were announced on Wednesday. That list will be trimmed down to 25 in November and 15 finalists in January.

The Hall of Fame selection committee, comprimsed of one media member representing each NFL team, will meet on Feb. 4 in Houston to select the Class of 2017. Between four and eight new members must be picked every year.

Those nominated must receive 80 percent of the vote to become Hall of Famers.

The Class of 2017 will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in August of 2017 in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Game.

The other first-time nominees this year are Derrick Mason, Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson, Hines Ward, Chad Johnson and Bob Sanders.

Other players who spent a significant portion of their careers or played significant roles with the Eagles among Wednesday’s 94 nominees are Eric Allen and Seth Joyner, Ricky Watters, Troy Vincent, Sean Landeta and Brian Mitchell.

Others who spent brief periods with the Eagles who were nominated include Herschel Walker, Jimmy Smith, Mark Bavaro, Levon Kirkland and Gary Anderson.

Twenty members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have played for the Eagles, but only nine of them spent most of their career here. Of those nine, the only one to play for the Eagles since 1970 is Reggie White.

Hall of Famers Cris Carter, Richard Dent, James Lofton and Art Monk all played for the Eagles from the late 1980s through the late 1990s but went into the Hall for their performances with other teams.

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