Brian Dawkins Q&A: Discussing His New Job, His Goals and the Hall of Fame

About 7 ½ years ago, Brian Dawkins was allowed to leave Philadelphia as a free agent, prematurely ending the Eagles career of one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Almost as shocking as his departure was his return.
Out of the blue, the Eagles on Saturday announced that Dawk, who finished his career with the Broncos from 2009 through 2011 and then spent four years with ESPN, was rejoining the Eagles to serve in the scouting department.
He returns 20 years after the Eagles drafted him in the second round out of Clemson. Dawkins went on to make the Pro Bowl seven times and earn all-pro honors four times during 13 years with the Eagles. He went to two more Pro Bowls with Denver.
On Monday, Dawkins sat down with Comcast Sportsnet's Quick Slants hosts Derrick Gunn and Reuben Frank for a wide-ranging interview in which Dawkins discusssed his goals for the future, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his disappointment in the Eagles’ recent lack of success, the team's current safeties and much more.
Here is a transcript of that 13-minute conversation:
Quick Slants: How long have you been interested in scouting? Is this something that just came up or have you been thinking about it for a while?
“I really just started thinking about it, I guess just, couple years ago. But as I transitioned out of the game, I never thought I’d be doing TV, did that for a little while, and during that time, I had time to coach and I had time to do some scouting for the Eagles off and on, some consultant work. And I really loved doing that, having those conversations. I love the game, first of all, and so being able to look at film to see if I could help this team find talent, that really began to talk to me, to speak to me. So now I want to learn everything about the game, about operations, about operating an NFL team. I don’t know where it will lead, but very anxious to see where it does.
Quick Slants: How much does it mean to you that not only are you starting an NFL front office career, you’re starting it back in Philadelphia, where you had your greatest seasons.
“There’s only really one place that I was hoping to start doing anything and you never know what will happen going forward but to start off at a place where I grew up at, where I grew into a man at, to me there was no other place to start. And when I found out the opportunity, me and Howie talked, and talked to Mr. Lurie, and to have this opportunity to learn from this team and help this team going forward was something that I could not pass up. And I said this also. Sometimes you have to get out of - or be forced out of - your comfort zones in order for you to see what you can truly achieve. And I think that ESPN was a comfort thing for me. I was very comfortable there but that’s no longer the case. So now I can look out and see, you know what, what else can I achieve with the gifts that I’ve been given?’”
Quick Slants: How surprised were you when this opportunity arose?
“Not very surprised, to be honest with you. Obviously, I left and when I left, the front office was not the way it was right now, so the individuals are not there anymore. I’ve gotten past me leaving. You know? I’ve gotten past me leaving. The bottom line is people may come and go, to be honest with you. There may be different people running this organization at some point but what will never change is the Eagle green. This organization, the owner more than likely, and then the fans. For me to be able to to come back once again and hopefully help get this place back so that there’s a special energy when people walk into this building. When the players walk into the building, they sense that we should be doing this, that and the other. We should be going to the playoffs. We should be, if we handle our business. I want to get that feeling bad. I want to see if I can add, whether it’s front office work or whether it be me stepping up and having conversations with guys off and on through the week, I want to do those things."
Quick Slants: This is kind of an open-ended position. You’ve spoken about “much bigger things” in the future. Where do you see this leading? What is your NFL dream job?
“I really don’t know. I really don’t know. I just know I’ve been blessed to have gifts. I can do a lot of things. So if I can add to this organization in any capacity, whether that be later on GM or scouting, whatever the case may be, I want to do that. I guess what I’m saying is I’m not taking anything off the board. There’s nothing that I’m not anxious to learn and once again, if I’m led to do it and we come to an agreement on it, I would love to do something bigger.”
Quick Slants: Dawk, why the scouting side as opposed to the coaching side?
“Coaching is something that I can do. I’m not saying I can’t get better about it, I’m not saying I can’t learn more about it, you always want to learn more about whatever it is that you’re trying to do. But that’s something I feel very comfortable doing. I want to learn more. I want to increase. There’s something about increasing to me that drives me. Even when I was a player. I wanted to increase. I wanted to increase my playing style, my weight, the way that people respected me.  I wanted to always increase. I want to learn more. The more that I know, the more that I can be able to bless others with the information that I just gathered because of my people skills. So I want to do those things.”
Quick Slants: You left after the 2008 season. You played in 10 postseason victories – more than half the postseason wins in Eagles history. But since you left, the Eagles haven’t won a single playoff game. How disappointing has it been to see what’s happened with the team since your departure?
"It definitely hurts because when you care about a place, you want that place to have success. Even though I was not there, even though I was mad at one point at time that I was not here, I still wanted to have these players that I was playing with and the fans now, even though I don't really have players that I played with on the team anymore, I still want this organization to have success, so it does hurt. And the fact that it was so up and down during that time period that I've been gone and it's not been a level of consistency the way we've done things. That's frustrating to watch. For this team to now to get back to hopefully being a physical football team, I love that fact. Get back to dictating tempo, not by pace, but by force. I love that. I love the fact that Doug is trying to bring that back and hopefully these guys buy into it. It hurts now. When we go through all those pads and the heat, it hurts. It's not something that everybody's going to love wanting to do, but I can almost guarantee the players this, if you go through it and you go through it together, in the season -- especially in the second half of the season -- you'll be a lot better football team than the majority of teams you play against. I can almost guarantee it."
Quick Slants: You and Doug Pederson were teammates in 1999. What kind of coach do you think Doug Pederson will be?
“When he came here as a player, you know one of the things Doug was asked to do was be a teacher, a communicator. He had to communicate and teach that offense and allow the offense, Donovan to catch up with what things were going on. So right now, new situation, he's trying to teach, in my opinion, these gentlemen how to be a team. How to come together and be a physical football team but how to be a team. How to do things together. I think that's where his strengths lie. As far as gameday situations and all that stuff, those may be something that we have to get used to, the calls, the time management and all that stuff. But as far as team building and having an understanding of how to teach guys things, he's been a teacher. So I think that's his strongest attribute."
Quick Slants: This is the first year of eligibility for both you and Donovan McNabb in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. You’ve been to Canton a couple times for the Hall of Fame Game. What would it mean to you to be enshrined?
“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. 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 fanbase as well because they deserve a lot better than what people give them. They don't give this fanbase the benefit of the doubt. Now, there are also knuckleheads who do some crazy stuffs but there are knuckleheads who do crazy stuff in every town. It just so happens that this town gets beat up for it. But I'm fine with all of that. Whatever. Whatever. I just know that this fanbase 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."
Quick Slants: The last time the Eagles really had two effective safeties was with you and Quintin Mikell, who is also working for the Eagles these days. What are your impressions with the current duo of Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod?
"Man, I tell you what, and it's not just those gentlemen, it's upfront as well. By them getting away from the two-gap and to more of a penetrating, to utilizing your strengths, especially a Fletcher Cox being able penetrate and not just two-gap all the time, so that takes a lot of pressure off the cornerbacks who are going to be some young guys. We don't know who's the guys who are going to step up as of right now. We have an idea but we don't know who is going to be the guy. But to have those guys in the back, you have two playmaking individuals. Malcolm wants the ball in his hands, very versatile, being able to cover, being able to run, to tackle, and then you have the tone-setter, in my opinion, Rodney. Like, he's that cat who's going to dig you out. Every team needs that at the safety position. You need one cat who can dig you out. When I say dig you out, that means you catch the ball in his vicinity or you run the ball, he's coming to get you. He's going to let you feel every bit of his helmet and shoulder pads. That's that fear factor that begins to be sent to the offensive side of the ball. So when you add he can run, he can cover, you need that. You need that. And they're more both vocal guys to be able to align guys and get everybody on the same page. And the linebacker core is pretty young, so they'll hopefully be able to help those guys as well. So all that being said, I'm very excited to say that the safety position is one of strength once again for Philadelphia.”

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