Eagles

Brian Dawkins not elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brian Dawkins not elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brian Dawkins, one of the most popular Eagles ever and a nine-time Pro Bowl safety, fell short of the necessary votes for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
Dawkins, who works in the Eagles’ personnel office, was among 15 finalists considered Saturday by a panel of sports writers meeting at the Super Bowl in Houston.
  
Former Eagles receiver Terrell Owens was also left out of the class of 2017 (see story). Safety Kenny Easley, running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, kicker Morten Andersen, defensive end Jason Taylor and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be this year's inductees. They'll be formally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 5. 
 
Dawkins visited the Hall of Fame in 2006, when the Eagles faced the Raiders in the Hall of Fame Game and Reggie White was inducted, and he made sure to spend some time exploring.
 
On Quick Slants on Comcast SportsNet in August, he spoke about that experience and what it would mean to one day join those already enshrined in Canton.
 
“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 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 stuff 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."
 
It’s historically extremely difficult for safeties to get into the Hall of Fame.
 
There are only seven pure safeties in the Hall of Fame, plus three others who split time at cornerback and safety.
 
The only pure safety who never played cornerback who’s been enshrined in Canton in the last quarter century is long-time Viking Paul Krause, the NFL’s all-time interception leader at 79. Krause retired in 1979 but didn’t get in until 1998.
 
But Dawkins truly revolutionized the position, combining playmaking in the back end with physical run support and his signature big hits.
 
Dawkins had 34 interceptions with the Eagles, tied with Eric Allen and Bill Bradley for the franchise record. He also had 36 forced fumbles, most ever by a safety, and 19 fumble recoveries, fourth-most by a safety. He added 26 sacks.
 
He’s one of only six players in NFL history with 25 interceptions and 25 sacks and the only one of the six who also had 25 forced fumbles.
 
Dawkins left the Eagles acrimoniously after the 2008 season and finished his career playing three seasons with the Broncos, earning Pro Bowl honors twice.
 
The Eagles announced in July that Dawkins had joined the team’s scouting department. 

NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

NEW YORK — Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills (see full story). 

Packers place QB Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday after the quarterback had surgery on his broken collarbone.

Rodgers would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. But coach Mike McCarthy has said that there is no timeline for Rodgers' return, and that the two-time NFL MVP might miss the rest of the season.

"Everything went very well is my understanding talking with (team doctor Pat McKenzie), and he's recovering," McCarthy said Friday morning. The Packers did not practice Friday.

The procedure on Rodgers was done Thursday outside of Green Bay. He was hurt in the first quarter in a 23-10 loss last weekend to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers posted an Instagram message early Friday thanking well-wishers for their "love, support, thoughts and prayers" in a photo of himself in a hospital bed (see full story).

Injured QB Jameis Winston will start against Bills
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week's 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking "mental reps" while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

"Jameis threw the ball well today," Koetter said following the team's hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. "Jameis is our starter. He will be out there."

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft (see full story). 

Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

It was late last Thursday night in Charlotte, well after the celebrating in the locker room subsided and well after most of his teammates had already gotten on the bus to take them to the airport. 

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, with a heavy brace on his right leg, emerged from the visitors' locker room and limped through the cement bowels of Bank of America Stadium. The pissed off look plastered on his face as he left the field after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter had given way to a look of resignation. He knew. 

Maragos was officially placed on injured reserve Thursday, which means the Eagles will have to continue what they hope will be a magical season without one of their unquestioned leaders. 

"It was rough, man," said fellow special teamer Najee Goode, who collided with Maragos on the play that injured him. "That's my dawg. Chris is a beast. He brings a lot of energy to special teams. But we're going to replace him. He's still going to be there, making sure we do what we need to do." 

If any team is prepared to get over the loss of a player like Maragos it might be these Eagles. They've already survived — thrived, really — after losing Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood for varying lengths of time. 

But like when they lost Sproles for the season, the Eagles are going to miss more than just Maragos' on-field play. He's also the captain of Dave Fipp's excellent special teams' group. Maragos, one of five captains on the team, said at the time he was voted a captain that it meant more to him than any other accomplishment in his career. 

And that's saying a lot. Maragos' story is pretty amazing. He was originally a wide receiver in college until then-Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw Maragos track down a DB after an interception and moved him to defense on the spot. Eventually, Maragos worked his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before coming to Philly. 

Early in his time with the Birds, Maragos actually played a significant role on defense. But when the new coaching staff arrived, it was clear his role would be on special teams, so he threw himself back into it. And he's been incredible. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year, $6 million extension that goes through the 2019 season and was already off to a good start in 2017. He led the Eagles in special teams snaps with 126 (74 percent) and was tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with six. 

How the heck do you replace that? 

"I don't think you'll ever be able to fill Chris' role," tight end and special teamer Trey Burton said. "He plays such a big role on special teams. He was able to do so much, but we're going to have to do something. Everybody's going to have to step up."

Head coach Doug Pederson said it will be "tough" to replace Maragos, but the team will probably do it with a committee approach at first. That means more Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Even recently signed draft pick Nate Gerry will have a role if he's active. 

Perhaps the bigger loss will be Maragos' leadership. He's one of just five players on the team who has won a Super Bowl, and he's always happy to answer any questions his teammates have — about football or life. 

In his absence, Goode said he and Burton will attempt to fulfill that leadership void as much as possible. 

"It's really tough," Burton said. "That's my best friend. Him not being here, being around as much. It's tough for him too because he's out of the loop on things and doesn't really know. He would love to be here and in meetings and stuff but he's not going to be able to."

While Maragos won't be around for a while, Burton expects him to visit more once he's healed more. And he'll certainly be watching. 

"Heart's heavy, but I lift my eyes," Maragos tweeted Thursday. "I'll miss being out there with my brothers but I promise you this, I'll be back stronger!"

That's good news for 2018, but the Eagles will have to go the rest of the season without him. Maragos apparently had a message for his teammates. 

"He knows injuries happen," Goode said. "We play full speed and that's something that comes with the game. His whole thing — Chris is a great team dude — was that we keep propelling and keep getting better for the future."