Eagles great Brian Dawkins is one step closer to being immortalized in Canton.
Dawkins has made the cut from 26 semifinalists to 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be voted on by the Hall of Fame committee the day before Super Bowl LI in February. These Hall of Famers will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, in August.
"It's a blessing to be mentioned among the names of so many other guys who have made it this far, let alone to be hopefully in the Hall of Fame someday," Dawkins said in a statement released by the Eagles on Tuesday.
In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Dawkins is a finalist, along with former Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, who is a finalist for the second straight year.
"I don't take these things for granted," Dawkins said. "I understand the plight of safety [in the Hall of Fame]. To make it this far in my first year, it's a tremendous, tremendous honor."
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Dawkins, now 43, was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 1996 draft and went on to become an all-time great and fan favorite over the next 13 years. After making seven Pro Bowls with the Eagles, Dawkins made two more with the Broncos during his 16-year career.
Dawkins is now a full-time employee with the Eagles, acting as a football operations executive.
A truly unique player, Dawkins is one of just six players in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions. As an Eagle, he had 34 interceptions, recovered 15 fumbles, forced 36 and had 26 sacks.
Owens, 43, played just 21 regular-season games with the Eagles but has had a lasting impact on the city, largely because he was the piece that nearly brought a championship to Philadelphia.
In 2004, he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns before an injury kept him out until the Super Bowl. But Owens returned in time for Super Bowl XXXIX and caught nine passes for 122 yards in the loss to New England.
Owens made six Pro Bowls in his career and is second all-time in receiving yards with 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns with 153.
Joining Dawkins and Owens among the finalists are: offensive linemen Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Kevin Mawae and Joe Jacoby, running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, defensive end Jason Taylor, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, defensive backs Ty Law and John Lynch, kicker Morten Andersen and coach Don Coryell.