Eagles

Brian Dawkins shares his powerful and refreshing message on mental health

Brian Dawkins shares his powerful and refreshing message on mental health

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month and Eagles legend Brian Dawkins is on a mission to erase the negative stigma around mental health. 

And in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an even more important topic than ever. 

“Mental health: We all have it,”” Dawkins said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. "If you are breathing right now, you have mental health. We all have it just like we all have physical health. If you’re breathing, you have physical health. Same thing with mental health. 

“The problem is that when I say mental health, what usually happens is a person will think of depression. They’ll think of stress. They’ll think of negative things when you say mental health, but we all have it. Not everybody has a mental issue or a mental illness, but everybody has mental health. So if we can begin to separate the two. There’s such a negative stigma when it comes to mental health. That’s why I changed it to something else.”

When it comes to his own mental health, Dawkins said he chooses to call it cerebral wellness. It doesn’t have the negative connotation and, to him, it encompasses more. 

Dawkins, 46, has been a advocate of mental health awareness for a long time and has been open about his own struggles with depression. Early in his NFL career, he turned to alcohol and had to fight off suicidal thoughts. 

But since then, Dawkins has found ways to deal with that depression. That includes his faith and a daily routine. 

“I do specific things daily in the morning and at night to make sure that I’m operating in a place that I want to be in,” Dawkins said, “that I’m making sure I tell my body to shut up and get in line.”

Dawkins said every morning when he wakes up he spends at least 20 minutes praying, meditating and writing in a journal. He also focuses on breathing techniques, something he began doing after joining his wife at Lamaze classes. He was fascinated that breathing techniques could help women manage pain while giving birth, so he began to use those techniques himself during his football days. 

“I’ve taken ownership of it,” Dawkins said. “It belongs to me.” 

Dawkins realizes that everyone will have different things that work for them, but he’s invested in sharing his own experiences to help anyone who might be listening. And a lot of that simply starts with a refreshing reminder that mental health shouldn’t come with a stigma at all. 

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NFL rumors: LeSean McCoy says Eagles had interest before he signed with Bucs 

NFL rumors: LeSean McCoy says Eagles had interest before he signed with Bucs 

For months — well, years really — LeSean McCoy seemed excited about the possibility of returning to Philadelphia, where his No. 25 has remained available. But that didn’t happen. 

Shady signed with the Buccaneers and will join Tom Brady in Tampa (Tompa) Bay. 

But on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday, Shady said the Eagles were showing him interest even just before he signed with the Bucs. 

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles had expressed some interest in veteran running backs and the three they were linked with most were Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman and McCoy. The only one of the three that remains available is Freeman. 

The Eagles feel pretty comfortable with the running back group they have right now and are ready to roll with some younger players. Their top two running backs are Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. After that, they have Corey Clement, Elijah Holyfield, Mike Warren and Adrian Killins. 

Coming into training camp, the Eagles wanted to get an extended look at some of those younger players. For instance, they had a draft able grade on Holyfield last year and had a draftable grade on Warren this year. 

McCoy is 32 now and it seems like his best days are behind him. Even though he was with the Chiefs last year, he didn’t play in the Super Bowl. 

But he’ll always be remembered as an Eagle. The Birds drafted him at No. 53 in 2009 and he played six seasons in Philly before Chip Kelly traded him to Buffalo. McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher. 

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4 new roster rule changes that could affect Eagles in 2020

4 new roster rule changes that could affect Eagles in 2020

As a part of the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA for the upcoming 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few important roster rule changes that could affect the Eagles. 

With the pandemic, the league has found ways to create new roster rules aimed to help teams as players might either test positive or come into contact with those who have. 

In either case, the league wants to be better prepared. 

Here are four changes for the 2020 season: 

1. Practice squad expanded to 16 players 

In the original collective bargaining agreement, the practice squad was limited to 12 players in 2020 and 2021 and would expand to 14 in 2022. But with the pandemic, the league and the players union agreed to expand the practice squad immediately to 16 players for the upcoming season. And if there are still COVID-19 protocols in effect for 2021, the practice squad will remain at 16 players. 

Six of those 16 players on the practice squads have no limit of accrued seasons, meaning the team can keep six veterans on the practice squad. 

Think about how the Eagles have used their practice squad in recent seasons. Heck, last year, the Eagles called up multiple players from their practice squad, including Greg Ward Jr. and Boston Scott, who played a ton down the stretch. 

2. Practice squad protected list 

Each Tuesday after 4 p.m. before a Sunday game — so not during the bye week — the Eagles will be allowed to protect up to four members of their practice squad. Typically, practice squad players are allowed to sign to any team’s 53-man roster at any time. 

In the past, the only way to protect a player on your practice squad was to sign them to the active roster. The Eagles have done that in recent seasons with QB Nate Sudfeld and OL Sua Opeta. 

3. IR designated for return 

Beginning on Sept. 6 at 4 p.m., teams are allowed to bring back an unlimited amount of players from Injured Reserve as long as those players have missed three regular season games. 

Once a player has been designated to return to practice, teams have 21 days to activate that player. 

Previously, the NFL capped the number of players allowed to return from IR and players were forced to miss a minimum of eight games. 

4. COVID-19 corresponding exemptions 

There’s an addition roster designation of Reserve/COVID-19, which we’ve already seen get used. The Eagles placed three players — Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Nathan Gerry — on the list earlier this training camp. 

There’s no definite amount of time players spend on the Reserve/COVID-19 list but they have to clear protocols before return. 

- If a player gets put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list before 4 p.m. on Saturday before a Sunday game, the team can replace that player with any free agent or practice squad player. 

- If a player gets put on the list after 4 p.m. on Saturday, they have until up to 90 minutes before kickoff to promote a player from their practice squad. 

That last part is a big change from the previous rule. In other years, teams had to call up practice squad players by 4 p.m. the day before a game. There are added protections because of COVID-19 this year. 

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