BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Brian Dawkins, one of the greatest Eagles ever, has been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dawkins, who spent the 1996 through 2008 seasons with the Eagles, was one of six players selected into the 2018 Hall of Fame class by a panel of sports writers meeting at the Super Bowl.
This was Dawkins' second year of eligibility and his second year as one of 15 finalists.
Dawkins is the first defensive back in Eagles history to make the Hall of Fame.
Dawkins, who now works in the Eagles' scouting department, was a second-round pick out of Clemson in 1996. He was named All-Pro four times as an Eagle and made seven of his nine Pro Bowls as an Eagle before finishing his career from 2009 through 2011 with the Broncos.
Dawkins played in 224 games and had 37 interceptions, 26 sacks, 36 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries.
He's one of only six players in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions and the only one with 25 forced fumbles, as well.
But his brilliance can't be measured by numbers alone. He redefined the safety position with his combination of thunderous hits, stout run support and pass coverage. He was part linebacker, part cornerback, part defensive lineman.
It's very difficult for pure safeties to make it into the Hall of Fame. Dawkins is only the eighth safety who never played cornerback at any point of his career to make it into the Hall, and he's the only one who played after 1982, although Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson spent most of their careers at safety.
Dawkins will become the 19th former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent most of his career with the Eagles.
"This is tremendous news and I could not be more proud of Brian," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in reaction to Dawkins' selection. "Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor he truly earned. He epitomized everything we love about the game of football. His intensity, his passion, his love of the game and his leadership were always dialed in at the highest possible level.
"He connected in every possible way with the city of Philadelphia and our legion of Eagles fans across the country. We cannot wait to celebrate his special night in Canton this summer."
Although three guys who played one year apiece for the Eagles in the early 1990s at the end of their careers have been inducted — James Lofton (1993), Art Monk (1995) and Richard Dent (1997) — Dawkins is the first true Eagle to make the Hall who played for the Eagles after 1993.
The last player who spent more than three years with the Eagles inducted in the Hall of Fame is Reggie White in 2006.
The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the weekend of Aug. 2-5 in Canton, Ohio.
In an interview in 2016 with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Dawkins spoke about the impact the Hall of Fame made on him when he played in the Hall of Fame Game with the Eagles in 2006.
“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 opportunity 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 fan base 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 fan base 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."