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Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996, Dawkins fought to elevate not only his own game but that of his entire team. He sweat, bled, and dominated through sixteen season in the NFL all the way into the Hall of Fame, but not for a moment did he believe his strength alone brought him that glory. Every step of the way the Lord had his back. From coaches that wanted to break him to defeats and bitter lessons in humility, his career is a testament to his faith and an homage to the countless people that helped him along the way.
In the wake of his success, Dawkins comes forward to describe his journey to become one the best safeties in the NFL. Physical training wouldn’t cut it. Blessed by the Best follows Dawkins trials to train his mind and faith along with his skill. As a nervous kid from Jacksonville, he never dreamed of one day standing in front of a crowd to accept that golden jacket. But one way or another, he made it. Dawkins tells his story straight, unafraid of exposing his own weaknesses; his over competitive spirit that takes losses too hard, the tunnel vision that estranged him from his kids, and the self-doubt that plagued much of his early years. Triumphs, pitfalls, love, and struggles Dawkins shares them all, not for himself, but in gratitude of those who have helped him along the way.
“I had been blessed by the best. First, that meant the Lord, who has blessed me with so much. It also meant all those people and things around me that I believe were the best for me. Maybe they weren’t the best for somebody else. Your best may not be my best. That’s fine. Everything that has happened to me has been to bring out the best in me. Even the toughest, hardest times in my life were the best things for me. If I hadn’t gone through them, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
About the Authors:
Brian Dawkins entered the NFL in the second round of the 1996 draft and has since achieved 1,131 tackles, 37 achieved passes, 26 recorded sacks and 19 fumble recoveries, which has earned him a place in the NFL Hall of Fame. Out of his 16 career seasons, Dawkins spent 13 with the Eagles before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2008. Despite the team change, Dawkins still holds several team records for the Eagles, and as of 2012 his jersey number 20 has become one of only nine to be retired in the history of the franchise.
Michael Bradley is a freelance sports writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Toronto Star, The Sports network, among other international publications. Bradley also serves as a talk host on sports radio and national television networks including Sports New Radio, 97.5 The Fanatic, and the NFL Network.