Story of Gary Papa's Last Eagles Game Adds to the Brian Dawkins Legend

Story of Gary Papa's Last Eagles Game Adds to the Brian Dawkins Legend

For as great as he was on the field, it's not been uncommon over the past week to hear former teammates and members of the local media refer to Brian Dawkins as an even better person than a football player.

This story, published on Friday over on 6ABC.com, only adds to that impression.

Chances are, if you're a fan in this town, you remember the late Gary Papa, the former sports anchor of Action News who passed away in 2009 after a fight with cancer.

Papa was, of course, still working while he was sick, and made it to the Eagles' 2009 NFC divisional round matchup against the Giants in North Jersey. The Birds won to advance to the Championship game in Arizona. It was the last Eagles game Papa would cover.

According to the story, written by the station's executive sports producer Mark Meany, Dawkins was the only player left in the Eagles dressing room, and Meany was to produce a postgame interview with Dawkins and Papa. The problem was that Papa, exhausted from the game, was in no shape to make the walk to the other side of the stadium, and Dawkins wasn't in the best condition himself, limping badly.

A quick discussion ensued between myself, Dawkins and Eagles media relations manager Ryan Nissan. It was quickly determined that Dawkins was too hurt to make the walk. We would have to cancel the interview. That is, until I said one simple thing to Dawkins, "Gary's in bad shape, he's having a really rough day."

Dawkins looked me in the eye and said, "Let's go."

From there, Meany tells the story of the slow, painful walk Dawkins made under Giants Stadium. He writes that Dawkins was "limping and silent" the entire way. But when he finally got there:

We finally got to Gary, who was sitting down and still gathering his strength. Dawkins walked up to Gary and helped him out of the chair.

Then the two embraced.

Both men, two of the toughest I've ever met, began to sob in each other's arms. It went on for what seemed like forever.

Throughout the embrace, Meany wrote that Dawkins was whispering something in Papa's ear. He just never knew what, until he finally got the chance to ask.

Check out the full story on 6ABC to read how Dawkins describes the exchange.

I've never gotten to opportunity to meet Dawk, who will have his number retired by the Eagles tonight, but from everything I've read about and heard from the man, he really might be an even better person than he was a safety.

And that's saying something.

LINK: Brian Dawkins message to Gary Papa [6ABC]

[h/t the WWL's Kevin Neghandi via OwlScoop.com's John Di Carlo]

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

How the Eagles and Redskins have changed since their first meeting

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How the Eagles and Redskins have changed since their first meeting

Back in Week 1, the Eagles and Redskins looked like two evenly matched teams, and wound up playing a very evenly matched game. It took Brandon Graham stripping the ball from Kirk Cousins and Fletcher Cox returning it 20 yards with 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 30-17 lead. Otherwise, the game was close.

But this is Week 7, and a lot can change in the NFL in 43 days – and it has. The Eagles are on a four-game winning streak and their confidence only appears to be growing. And while Washington has won three of its last four, the injury report reads like a short story these days. These teams are not remotely the same, the Redskins in particular.

It’s worth looking at position by position, because the differences are rather striking in several cases.

QUARTERBACKS

Do we still think Cousins is a better quarterback than Carson Wentz? If nothing else, Wentz is closing any perceived gap between the two. Cousins is completing a higher percentage of his passes for more yards per attempt, and it’s not particularly close – 66.5 percent and an 8.4 average, compared to 60.9 percent and 7.7 for Wentz. But Wentz has also lead the Eagles to a 5-1 record, while Washington enters this week at 3-2. I know who I’d take, and it’s certainly close regardless – although, technically, Cousins is still the more efficient and prolific passer of the two.

Marginal edge: Washington

RUNNING BACKS

It’s almost as if Darren Sproles switched uniforms. Sproles is out for the year, depriving the Eagles of one of the most unique weapons in the NFL. Or so we thought, anyway, because Chris Thompson is doing a lot of Sproles-like things in Washington. Thompson has become the focal point of that offense, leading the team in rushing (175 yards), receiving (340 yards) and touchdowns (4). Conversely, the Eagles have shifted to a power running game led by LeGarrette Blount, who entered the week ranked third in the NFL with 5.57 yards per carry. With the statuses of Robert Kelley and Wendell Smallwood up in the air, both backfields could be incomplete.

Edge: Even

WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz has 405 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 321 yards and four scores, while Alshon Jeffery has 317 with two trips to the end zone. After Thompson, Washington’s leading receiver is Vernon Davis with 225 and one touchdowns. Even Torrey Smith has 210 and a score. The Eagles have played one more game than the Redskins, but still. Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have proven unable of replacing the production left behind by DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon when the duo chose to leave as free agents. Jamison Crowder has oddly gone missing as well, and Jordan Reed just looks like a shell of his former self.

Distinct edge: Eagles

OFFENSIVE LINES

For my money, the Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL right now. They replaced Isaac Seumalo at left guard, mostly with Stefen Wisniewski, and the rest of the unit has been playing at or above expectations ever since. Washington’s O-line is pretty good, too, when everybody is healthy – but that won’t be the case on Monday night. Left tackle Trent Williams is delaying knee surgery, so he won’t be 100 percent, if he suits up at all. Meanwhile, Williams’ backup, Ty Neskhe, was already ruled out for this game. This situation has the potential to take a turn for disastrous for the Redskins.

Edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN

First-round draft pick Jonathan Allen landed on injured reserve for Washington this week, joining outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who also missed the opener. Those are some of the more disruptive players up front for Washington, though defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis has emerged as an interior pass-rusher, as he’s tied with Ryan Kerrigan for second on the team with 3.5 sacks. The Eagles have remained pretty much the same up front, and boast the No. 1 run defense in the NFL so far this season. Cox and company have been as advertised.

Slight edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The Redskins’ offensive line could devolve into a mess, but their secondary already looks like a disaster. All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman is out, and the other half of that tandem, Bashaud Breeland, is hobbled by a knee injury and questionable as well. Starting safety Deshazor Everett is questionable, too, so that’s three-quarters of the secondary that either isn’t playing or won’t be 100 percent. The Eagles, on the other hand, are only getting healthier. Rodney McLeod and Corey Graham have been back after missing some time, and Ronald Darby could return to lineup on Monday. Plus, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Malcolm Jenkins are all playing at a high level.

Very distinct edge: Eagles

SPECIAL TEAMS

Both teams suffered key losses this week, with kicker Dustin Hopkins going on IR for Washington, and Chris Maragos down for the Eagles. The latter was also hit with the losses of Caleb Sturgis and Sproles, but Jake Elliott has since nailed down the kicking duties, while Kenjon Barner is a capable fill-in returning punts. The Redskins didn’t have great special teams before losing Hopkins, and they surely aren’t going to be better off now.

Edge: Eagles

OVERALL

The last times these two teams met, it looked slightly superior on paper, and wound up winning a game that was determined in the final two minutes. This time, the Eagles appear to have a rather sizable advantage, not to mention are playing at home, so you would think the margin of victory would be greater. Granted, this is a game between two NFC East opponents, and division games are usually tough, so it might not turn out that way. That being said, given the state the Redskins are in entering this contest, there’s a reason the expectations are a convincing win for the Eagles this time around.

Edge: Eagles