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Brian Dawkins voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Paul Domowitch, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Football

This was Owens' third year as a Hall finalist. He was eliminated in the first 15-to-10 reduction vote both of the last two years. But many voters clearly softened their stance on him this time.

He had been in Minneapolis most of the week but left town before the results were announced.

Dawkins was a finalist last year in his first year of eligibility and advanced to the final 10. But he was eliminated in the 10-to-5 reduction vote.

He played 16 seasons in the NFL, 13 with the Eagles. For most of his career, he was one of the most impactful players in the game. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a five-time all-pro and was named to the NFL's all-decade team of the 2000s.

Dawkins is the only defensive player in history -- at any position -- with more than 25 each of interceptions (37), sacks (26), and forced fumbles (36).

He was the straw that stirred the drink on those great Jim Johnson defenses of the early 2000s. Johnson basically built his entire defense around Dawkins and his skills.

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In the 10 seasons Dawkins played for Johnson, the Eagles finished in the top seven in the league in points allowed six times and in the top 10 in total defense six times. He was the most important chess piece in Johnson's masterful blitz schemes. Former Eagles coach Andy Reid has called Dawkins the best blitzing safety he's ever seen. Not ever coached. Ever seen.

Dawkins thanked his two defensive coordinators with the Eagles -- Emmitt Thomas and Johnson. He said he wouldn't have had the career he did and wouldn't have made the Hall of Fame without them.

"There are individuals that saw something in me, even as a pro," Dawkins said. Emmitt saw this (Hall of Fame) in me. I did not.

"I saw a player who could hopefully play in the National Football League. He saw this Hall of Famer in me. And he spoke those things. And he would not let me stop until I achieved something. I don't know if it was going to be this. But it was going to be more than I thought it was going to be.

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