There hasn't been a Philadelphia sports athlete more revered and missed than Eagles safety Brian Dawkins. Or at least that's the impression that I regularly get. To this day, people still talk about how the Eagles have failed to find the "Next Dawkins." And it's true. The Eagles haven't been able to find a Dawkins replacement. But here's the reality: they probably never will. Dawkins' combination of rare talent and unrivaled passion doesn't freely exist. There is no "Next Dawkins".
("Next Dawkins" parody chart via @OhWowHmm)
So how does this issue become resolved? For the sake of this fictional exercise, I have the answer. The SB Nation NFL blogs, in an effort to promote the new RoboCop film, are doing a series post asking "Which player would you turn into a robot so they could player forever?" In this case, the selection is clear: it's Brian Dawkins.
Every Eagles fan is familiar with the greatness of B-Dawk. He was practically already considered as a robot (hence "Weapon X"), given his unyielding machine-like ferociousness. His play-making ability was uncanny. He excelled in coverage and delivered bone-crushing hits with regularity. Unfortunately, Dawkins couldn't stay invincible forever. His weakness was the one that befalls all NFL players: age. Dawkins skills deteriorated in the eyes of the Eagles front office and that caused them to let Dawkins leave to sign with the Broncos in free agency. Eagles fans were understandably heartbroken by this move. Eagles GM Howie Roseman even admitted that failing to re-sign Dawkins was a huge mistake. Dawkins would return to the Eagles in 2012, but only for the purpose of retiring with the team.
See, none of that would have ever happened with Robot Dawkins. He would still be playing to this day and the Eagles defense would have the play-maker it sorely lacks. Fans would no longer be on their quest for the unattainable "Next Dawkins". And #20 would one day finally get that championship ring he so badly deserves.
Of course, this kind of fictional activity is fun to think about, but extremely unsatisfying. It's a sad reality to come to terms with the fact there will likely never again be player like Weapon X. So when you find yourself looking for that Next Dawkins; don't. It's just as impossible as trying to turn him into a robot.
Instead, stop, and remember the greatness of The Only One.
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