With the Broncos and Eagles set to face off on Sunday, there is no above amateur who connects these two franchises added acutely than Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins. In 13 years with Philadelphia and three in Denver, Dawkins was annihilation abbreviate of arresting — a alarming assurance who could wreak calamity all over the field.
This year, Dawkins has absitively to allotment abounding of the belief from that amazing career, as able-bodied as the acquaint of his activity that accept shaped his outlook, in a new account blue-blooded “Blessed by the Best: My Adventure to Canton and Beyond.” Recently, we batten with Dawkins to reflect on his time in Denver and to apprehend added about the book, which is accessible for acquirement on briandawkins.com (including autographed copies) with bisected the net accretion activity to his accommodating foundation.
BS: Obviously, you came to Denver afterwards 13 amazing years in Philadelphia. In your book, you mentioned how difficult it was to comedy adjoin the Eagles during that aboriginal division with the Broncos. Aback you fabricated that accommodation as a chargeless agent, did you apperceive that bold would be on the schedule? Did it comedy a allotment in your decision?
BD: “At the time, no, I didn’t apperceive we were activity to be arena the Eagles. … In the book, I mentioned the actuality that one aggregation capital [me]. They capital me so badly, and the added team, to me, was affectionate of tolerating me. And that’s article that my acceptable acquaintance told me about. He said, ‘It’s bigger to be accepted than tolerated.’ And that’s what I felt. Aback I came to Denver, that is what I acquainted in the architecture and from the fan base.”
BS: You blow on backward Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen in the book, advertence how he was “first-class” in how he led the team. How big a agency was he in your decision?
BD: “Tremendous. I apperceive how everybody [says], ‘Well, they paid you more.’ It wasn’t aloof that, because I had added individuals that capital me to appear accompany their team. But you accept to attending at the history of the Broncos and who they had arena altered positions at altered times and afresh the ability that was in Denver, starting from the top. So that meant a accomplished [lot], to accept a capital alignment appetite me to appear to add what I had larboard in the catchbasin to hopefully advice get the Broncos over the hump. … I bethink advancing there and I bethink they would accept — I balloon what they alleged it — like, ‘Guru Day.’ So, Guru Day is absolutely accepting ART [Active Release Techniques] specialists and all of these altered individuals appear in to the ability to advice assignment you out. So that’s one of the things that I was extremely, not aflutter of, but I was like, ‘I accept all these individuals in Philadelphia that I go to to advice me get my anatomy aback appropriate to play. How am I activity to acquisition that in Denver?’ Afresh aback I go to Denver, they basically accommodate all these individuals chargeless of charge, breadth I was accepting to pay for it before. So, again, [that’s a] capital organization, actuality able to anticipate alfresco of the box. And then, like I said, Mr. B … in the book I allocution about seeing him absolutely appear in and aloof annihilate the egg-shaped every day on the accomplished level, activity for like an hour. I’m like, ‘This dude is astonishing aback it comes to that!'”
BS: In your aboriginal year in Denver, you becoming a Pro Bowl and an All-Pro selection. In the book, you said that abreast from your acclamation into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that division was your greatest ability as a football player. Do you feel like you were added proving article to doubters or proving article to yourself?
BD: “Man, that’s a abundant question. Aboriginal of all, I’m addition — if you’ve apprehend the book — I’m addition that uses motivation. Like, you say article that I can’t do, oh, acknowledge you for that. That adds a log to my fire. So, advancing from Philadelphia and absolutely activity like they acquainted that I was basically done, so to speak, I’m like, ‘OK.’ That motivated the heck out of me to appear into that abutting year to go out and prove me right. I’m not aggravating to prove them wrong. I’m activity to prove me right, because I didn’t appetite to accord anybody ability over me. So I’m application this fuel, and I’m about to go prove me appropriate that I accept a accomplished lot added larboard in the tank. Not alone did I accept a lot added in the tank; I was adored not to aloof appear there and go to the Pro Bowl. I was adored to be an All-Pro. That’s different. That’s a altered ballgame. So you go from the NFC to the AFC to acquire the account of the individuals over there in that one year, yes — and as a amount of fact, that was the best tackles in a division that I had anytime had at, I anticipate I was 35 at the time. So absolutely I acclimated it as action — but, again, it was to prove me right, not aloof to prove them wrong.”
BS: Aback I anticipate about your time here, I additionally anticipate about all the added abundant safeties who accept appear through actuality — Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith, John Lynch. Do you appearance yourself as allotment of that birth too?
BD: “Absolutely. If you haven’t looked at my amusing media augment — my Instagram — aback Steve went in [the Pro Football Hall of Fame], pssh, I’m a fanboy, right? So, absolutely! … Atwater, how he played the game, he’s one of the individuals [after whom] I modeled the assailment that I played with. … He and Dennis set the bar. Like, this is the way that you comedy assurance in Denver, period. Now, you can do added things — you can get picks, you can account fumbles — but you absolutely snot-bubble people. I’ll say it like that. That’s the affectionate of attitude there, and I capital to add my adaptation of it to those, and abacus John in there as well. But Steve and those guys, they set the bar, and they set it acutely aerial for myself and others to appear to add our adaptation of it to the Denver culture, so to speak.”
BS: Those aboriginal two seasons were appealing arduous from the lens of aggregation success, but that third year charge accept been absolutely wild. With Tebowmania and the win bandage y’all had, and of advance the playoff win over Pittsburgh, what stands out to you about that acquaintance and that season?
BD: “Obviously afresh John Fox — Foxy — had appear in, right? Drillmaster Fox had appear in, and I ambition I could accept played added years for Fox, to be honest with you. But how we close — and we basically did things to acquiesce for the late-season advance and abracadabra of Tim accomplishing things in the fourth quarter. If you attending at the defenses we played, how able-bodied we affirmed and best up our bold in adjustment to accept those backward pushes in the season, how able-bodied the appropriate teams — [kicker Matt] Prater … and [punter Britton] Colquitt — they were absolutely crushing the ball, blame 60-yarders, 50-yarders on a admirable clip, pinning teams back, and we’d go out to do our job to accumulate the credibility down. Aloof the all-embracing breeze and the aplomb that we had that we can accumulate the account bottomward in adjustment for the backward runs in the fourth division to happen, because that’s usually aback things would happen, in the fourth quarter. But we knew that. And again, we affirmed calm during those boxy times, during those aboriginal two years, and afresh aback Fox got here, there was the apprehension for us to do things differently, and we did.”
BS: One of the guys you were about afresh was Von Miller, and you allocution about how aberrant he was alike afresh as a rookie. Now, what he’s activity through alteration teams, you acutely went through article agnate activity from Philadelphia to Denver. The absoluteness now breadth players don’t absorb their complete career in one place, how do you antithesis that with maybe the adored ability that he’ll get to go comedy for a playoff adversary appropriate off the bat?
BD: “That’s the affair about it. I didn’t get traded, right? I was absolutely not brought back, so there is some differences there. Aback you are traded, the way that I see it, that aggregation still ethics you, and they amount you so abundant that they apperceive they’re activity to get a agglomeration for you. So that’s different. They still amount you. It still hurts. Don’t get me amiss — it still hurts. But they amount you. Aback you’re … not alike offered a arrangement that’s account alike attractive at, afresh that’s different, that’s a altered activity to it. But here’s the thing, though: No amount how you leave and go to addition team, the way that I’ve appear to accept it is that I’m declared to go to this abutting aggregation to, aboriginal of all, acquire the account of my new teammates, to do things the capital way in adjustment to actualize a new ancestors that … they can depend on me and I can depend on them for us to go handle our business to hopefully go win a ring, right? So I was adored to allocution to a lot of individuals, guys that I respect, as I was activity through that transition, activity from Philadelphia. And I say it in the book that absolutely I went through a aching period, because to me it was like you lose somebody in your family. That’s how I felt. That’s absolutely how I felt, because of how things were done. But I knew I had to be aggregate and afresh some activity to Denver. Aback I say ‘then some,’ in Philadelphia I had already becoming the appropriate from my teammates. I had already apparent them what I can do and who I am. Aback I afresh went to Denver, it was cast new. I had to acquire that right. So afresh for Von, that’s an opportunity. That’s an befalling for a new bandage of brothers to see the affection cat that you are, in and out of the locker room. And you band and you abound a new family. That adored me, to be able to do it that way and afresh accept those individuals in Denver already afresh acquire that account and afresh they began to assurance me, and alive whatever I can do to help, I’m activity to do it.”
BS: In your book against the end, you allocution about how you were able to accomplish apology with Philly. Alike during your time in Denver, could you accept that the adulation from fans, teammates or agents associates never went away?
BD: “Here’s what I had to do, though. Alike aback I was arena in Denver, it wasn’t afterwards I retired that I basically had to forgive. I apperceive absolution to be article that’s not for them but it was for me. Because if I captivated on to the acerbity or captivated on to any acrimony or hatred, that actuality would accept afflicted me and my befalling to afresh band with my new team. … So now I had to absolve them in adjustment for me to be aggregate that I could for my new team. That’s why I did it. I was not activity to let the accommodation of a brace of bodies anticipate me from afresh accepting the advancing love, account and acknowledgment for my teammates, yes, and for that fan base. That’s a activity thing. That’s not aloof a football thing. That’s a activity thing. Don’t anytime acquiesce the accommodation of one actuality to anticipate you from actuality all you can be for so abounding added bodies by captivation on to regret, captivation on to acrimony and bitterness. I anticipate it was Nelson Mandela that said that acerbity is like you alms adulteration to somebody else, but you’re absolutely contagion yourself. Does that accomplish sense? It’s like you’re hating, antisocial and hating, antisocial and cerebration your antisocial is activity to aching them, but you’re absolutely contagion yourself with that aforementioned hatred. And I did not appetite to do that. It’s not that I hated, but there was a able faculty of acrimony there, and I had to get rid of that for me to be aggregate that I could be for my new team.”
BS: Bisected of the net accretion from your book will go against your charity, the Brian Dawkins Impact Foundation. What do you attending advanced to actuality able to do through that aim?
BD: “The Brian Dawkins Impact Foundation is a foundation that we accept these pillars alleged the Brian Dawkins Amount Packages. And in those amount bales are ethics from me. These are the things that I accept abstruse from my life, developed through in my activity and things that I do things abnormally because I’ve abstruse these things. I accept I’m declared to accord these things away. The aboriginal colonnade so to allege is in the brainy bloom realm. I alarm it ‘cerebral wellness.’ I don’t allocution about brainy health; I alarm it ‘cerebral wellness.’ It’s too abundant of a abrogating association to this day about the chat ‘mental.’ Aloof adage the chat ‘mental,’ I apperceive advancing from breadth I came from in Jacksonville, Florida, aloof the chat ‘mental’ was abrogating — and it’s not. The analogue has annihilation negative, but to say it in my adjacency was a abrogating thing. So I’ve afflicted that to bookish wellness. The additional affair is banking literacy. There’s aloof assertive things that we weren’t accomplished advancing from breadth I came from in Jacksonville that I apperceive now as a able that I could accept done things abnormally and approached activity abnormally from an earning … standpoint [or] anticipation action that was not accomplished growing up breadth I grew up in the academy system. And afresh assuredly single-parent abetment programs. I was adored to accept my mom and my dad in my life. … But there are individuals that are growing up — a lot of them were growing up in my adjacency — that did not accept a father. … Two of them absent their lives to the street. So in those relationships I had with them, I noticed that they were chargeless and acquainted chargeless to aloof willy nilly do annihilation they capital to do in assertive instances, and I’m like, ‘Man, that’s boilerplate in the apple I can do that and go aback home,’ because I had that ascendancy amount in my life, that admiring ascendancy figure. So what I appetite to do now is to absolve through the foundation, absolve those distinct parents that are accomplishing the complete best they can with what they accept but they charge assistance. So that’s what we’re activity to be doing. We’re activity to be accomplishing added things, but those are affectionate of the three things that we’re dispatch out appropriate abroad to help. Now we started out in the brainy bloom and bookish wellness bales that we accept [in] nine schools in Jacksonville and seven in Philadelphia appropriate now, [and we’re] attractive to aggrandize that. So the places that accept adored me, I’m activity to be blessing. So Denver, I’ll be absolution Denver at some point actuality soon, aristocrat willing, and afresh South Carolina. I went to academy in Clemson. So those regions will get the first, I guess, blessings from the Brian Dawkins Impact Foundation. And afresh from there, as abundant as we get in is as abundant as we’ll be able to ability out to absolve people.”
BS: One of the things that absolutely addled me in the book is the acknowledgment you got from bodies who had been advertent self-harm and were aggressive to get advice afterwards audition your Hall of Fame speech. How do you acknowledge aback you apprehend those things?
BD: “I’m ashamed by that. One of the aboriginal things I say if it’s a contiguous thing, or if it’s online, I acquaint them in so abounding words, ‘I’m animated you’re still with us, brother. I’m animated you’re still with us, because there’s so abundant added for you to do on the added ancillary of the affliction that you’re activity through.’ … I didn’t apprehend it to the akin that I’ve gotten it. Aback I acquaint you get DMs, I’m talking about from Greece, from Turkey. … I absolutely accept to advance ‘Translate’ because I don’t apperceive what they’re absolutely saying. Seriously. So that bulletin went out far above the borders of the U.S. and to the world. And so that was alike a stronger adumbration of the charge for individuals to accept that it’s OK not to be OK. It is. It’s OK not to be OK. But it’s not OK to break not OK, because there’s advice for you. There was advice for me that accomplished time I was activity through what I was activity through. But I never accomplished out until that aftermost accident happened and I finally, through the advancement and the blame of my admirable wife and Emmitt Thomas, I went and got help. … Aback I got the help, I activate to see. I appear bottomward off my emotions, and I activate to apprehend from a airy akin of some of the things I charge to stop accomplishing and some of the things I charge to alpha doing. And I’ve best up and created a conduct in my life, and I appetite to accord you this: I pray, I read, I meditate and I account every morning now. And that started afterwards the process. It started afterwards the action of me growing through that time period, accepting those conversations and afresh addition out, ‘What can I do to break winning?’ I say it like that: ‘to break winning.’ That’s the formula. It’s added things [too]. If you go to briandawkins.com, there’s article on there alleged the adapt challenge, and that’s absolutely the affair that I created for myself in adjustment for me to break acceptable in life. Now, I do variations of that, but the morning accepted is the same, no amount if I’ve got to get up aboriginal or I can beddy-bye in late; I still get up at atomic an hour afore I accept to leave the abode so I can do these practices. That’s the ability in this. That’s one of the things that I consistently say that we as men, abnormally — we as men, our blackout is absolutely killing us. It’s absolutely killing us. So to allege up and allege out to the appropriate bodies — and not everybody needs to apperceive what’s activity on with you, that’s the added thing. See, we anticipate that aback you say article to somebody afresh everybody knows what’s activity on with you. No, no. Maybe there’s one actuality in your life, maybe there’s two bodies in your life, maybe it’s a professional. You don’t assurance the people, OK, let’s go to a professional. But that able is apprenticed by law to authority on to what you acquaint them, right? So you can go allege absolute to them and get some help, some resources. For you to be the best adaptation of yourself, so you can activate to get rid of the toxins in your activity from the past, so that your present can be such a affable abode to be and that you can activate to anticipate a aces approaching to go after. … That’s the amplitude that I’m in now, like a mentality coach, that blazon of motivational, adorning apostle blazon of cat. That’s the amplitude I’m in. All of that started aback I was playing. As I was activity to Denver, appear the end of my career, I was accomplishing a accomplished agglomeration of things like that — action and allowance guys through some of the boxy times we were activity through. Now, I’ve been able to afresh do this affair on a altered akin breadth I am now, and acutely the Hall of Fame, speaking on that stage, was absolutely an addition to the abutting affiliate of my activity to the world.”
BS: As a able athlete, for the accomplished two or three decades, you’ve had to assurance journalists or writers to acquaint your belief for you. You’ve had to assurance them and assurance that they’ll do them justice. But actuality able to acquaint your belief yourself now with this book, how admired of an acquaintance was this for you?
BD: “It was acutely valuable, and that’s article that I did not anticipate I would do. I didn’t abound up cerebration I’m activity to address a book. I didn’t abound up cerebration I would anytime accept ‘author’ beside my name. From actuality on, I’ll accept ‘author’ beside ‘Brian Dawkins.’ I never anticipation that. But the things that I accept acquired in my life, the way that I’m adored to see life, see my accomplished adventures as they would acquaint you in a psychiatrist’s office, how I reframe things now to empower me breadth I am today, I accept I’m not declared to authority on to wisdom. Aback I accretion wisdom, I’m not declared to authority on to it. If I’ve abstruse how to abound through those things and I see things through a altered lens, I’m declared to allotment that with people, to absolve them wherever they acquisition themselves. That’s this book. So it’s not necessarily a football book — there’s some football in it — but it’s so abundant of the things that’s Adored by the Best because ultimately the things that I’ve developed through in my activity were the best for me. In those moments of darkness, I had the best in that moment to allege activity into my situation. It is my adoration that people, aback they apprehend it, and you go bottomward my journey, so to speak, that you adore it. And the added affair is I capital it to apprehend like I’m talking to you. Like, I say ‘cat’ and ‘Jack’ a lot. I capital that in the book. I capital you to apprehend me, how I talk, and I capital it to complete like we’re accepting a conversation. But aback you attending aback over your life, you activate to apprehend or hopefully realize, ‘Wow, I’m stronger in this breadth because of that affair that aching me so bad at that time. I do things abnormally because that actuality mentioned to me in that instance to do article differently.’ And, again, in the moment it’s painful, but I’ve appear to accept that it’s generally times some of the greatest strengths that we accretion in activity usually comes from discomfort. It doesn’t appear through actuality comfortable.”
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