Brian Dawkins took the field Sunday in Philadelphia like he had so many times during his 13 seasons with the Eagles — crawling and gyrating out of the entrance and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
And they presumably won’t ever again because Dawkins retired during the off-season, and the Eagles did the same with his jersey number during a ceremony Sunday night before the team’s 19-17 victory over the New York Giants.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Dawkins said during the festivities at the stadium’s Headhouse Plaza. “I will always be an Eagle in my heart and I will always, always look to represent this organization and you guys to the best of my abilities.”
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie told Dawkins that No. 20 was “yours and ours for good,” before Dawkins’ name and number were revealed on a spot high on a wall, next to that of another revered former Eagles player, Reggie White.
“What Brian meant to this team and this city, it doesn’t have a number on it,” Lurie told a cheering, chanting crowd. “That part isn’t going on the wall because that part is going in our hearts and the memories. Every one of us who saw him play, we remember he was the strong, passionate heartbeat of our team.”
After the ceremony and his grand entrance into the stadium, Dawkins joined the team captains at midfield for the coin toss. Then at halftime, the eight-time Pro Bowler led the crowd in the Eagles fight song.