About the Steve O Zone

Friday, March 6, 2009

Farewell Wolverine

It's been a week since the word came down that Brian Dawkins was no longer a Philadelphia Eagle and the passion, ire and fire from Eagles fans toward Joe Banner, et al, has not waned in the least.

For those among you who are NOT Eagles fans, but are sports fans... just imagine the one player who personifies your city, your sports team and fans just like you one day not being a part of that team.

And the reason behind the parting is due to sheer callousness and self-imposed frugality on the part of ownership. Consider the average NFL team had $20 million of available salary-cap space when free agency began last Friday while the Eagles had over TWICE that amount, upwards of $45 million+.

There's a quote from the movie Rocky Balboa that is perfect for describing Brian Dawkins and the city of Philadelphia:

"Ya know they always say if you live in one place long enough, you are that place."

Brian Dawkins was Philadelphia; lived here, raised a family here and was very active in the community for 13 years. He became Philadelphia. he became "that place." Tough as nails. Passionate, loyal, devoted; unbreakable spirit; willing to take on any challenge head on.

The other day Joe Banner was a guest on Howard Eskin's show on 610-WIP. I listened intently as I wanted to hear, right from the horse's... mouth, his rationale for allowing this living legend to walk away.

Banner did not disappoint me in the least. He toted the company line and essentially, hell not essentially... he flat-out lied, numerous times. But that was fine, it really was because I expected him to spew such bull.

And while I should not have been surprised by Eskin's toting of the same Eagles line (he is of course a staunch Andy Reid supporter), the manner in which he conducted the "interview" PLUS what he said on the "crossover" from his show to the next, in this case former Eagle Ike Reese's show, was downright despicable.

First the "interview" -- and I use quotes because referring to this as interview is an insult to all reporters who have a speck of journalistic integrity, something Eskin is completely devoid of. The chuckle or snicker if you will. The buddy-buddy laughter Eskin and Banner shared was nothing short of disgusting and shameful. Following the brief softball Q&A, Eskin fielded calls from fans who had questions for Banner.

And sure enough, Eskin defended Banner at all turns. Any caller who had the audacity to question this decision to not make all attempts to resign Dawkins was quickly and summarily dismissed.

But Eskin saved his worst for last. I purposely wanted to hear the exchange between he and Ike given Ike's stature as a former player and one who endured the contract/free-agent process himself with this regime.

At one point in their "heated" exchange, Ike mentioned how Dawkins was so upset, he cried during his press conference with the Broncos and cried subsequent times to that, unable to control his emotions. Perfectly understandable given the circumstances.

Eskin responded to this with such a condescending, reprehensible, disdainful and patronizing comment, I almost hesitate to repeat it here. But I will.

To Ike's comment that Brian Dawkins had cried several times during this process, Eskin replied in his typical smug way: (paraphrasing) "That's great... I'm glad he cried."

I was so appalled, so shocked that he would say such a callous and heartless thing...but then of course I considered the source. I honestly do not understand how anyone in their right mind can listen to this man. And rest assured it is THE last time I will ever listen again and I call for all of you to stop listening as well.

But enough of that...

I wanted to allow my fellow Eagles fans a forum to vent their frustration and bitterness over this sad time in Eagles history.

Here is just a sampling of the thoughts and emotions that came spilling out of Eagles fans upon hearing the news BDawk would no longer wear Eagles green: (PLUS... below the comments is a video which includes clips of the Broncos press conference announcing their new safety AND a quote from Dakwins about how he plays the game, don't miss that one."


"I am devastated and mad as hell. B. Dawk epitomizes what being an Eagle is all about. He should have retired in green, plain and simple. This really shows what is fundamentally wrong with the front office of this franchise. They just don't get it. If it was a cap issue, I would understand, but that is clearly not the case. Seeing Brian in orange and blue will be painful and make me physically ill. Seriously, if I could actually afford season tickets to possess them, I would give them up today." - Michael C

"Always been a defense guy. My favorite all time Eagle player is the late and great Reggie White! Since his departure from the Eagles and then death, I had always liked the fire and determination that Dawkins had. He went out on the field every week with one goal. To win! He was not out there for those 60 minutes of playing time thinking of being careful as an injury could end his multi-million dollar career. He was thinking how do I hit that guy hard enough to stop him or get him to turn over the ball. He left it all on the field each and every week. Sad to see him go. Just looked it up and I am at the very least glad he did not go to another NFC East team so we don’t see him twice a year." - Paul S

"I understand it's a business but even if the Eagles don't think he has much left you still keep the guy around for the locker room and on the sidelines. He was their only leader!!! I'm going to buy a Broncos jearsey!" - Doug S

"It's business, Sonny -- it's not personal. What I love about Dawkins is that he always seemed to put us fans first when he analyzed a game or apologized for the team's bad performance in one. In this case, he clearly put his family and himself first -- not us and not the Birds. Who can argue with that?

And I can't blame the Birds too much for not coming close to what Denver offered either in upfront money or duration; that's not in their financial DNA no matter who the veteran player is...not Reggie White, not Hugh Douglas, not Troy Vincent and so on. It remains to be seen how much of a price you should put on real honest to goodness fire and responsible leadership -- THAT is where the real deficit will be next year, not in on-field performance so much." - Rich R

"Sure, it was a business decision on the Eagles’ part not to make #20 an offer he couldn’t refuse, and yes, that is how the Banner and Lurie have always done it, but I was reminded of one of the best definitions I’ve ever heard about the proper role of executive decision making:

“It is the job of management to make reasonable exceptions to general rules—and knowing when to make them.”

If this isn’t one of those exceptions, what is? Maybe they couldn’t have worked out a deal that would keep Dawk an Eagle, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have tried. If only to demonstrate a tiny bit of the kind of loyalty that fans have never failed to show this organization, even in the darkest days of Joe Kuharich, Mike McCormack, and Ed Khayat. I still think this will be remembered as a PR blunder ranking right up there with Reggie White." - Isaac S

"It certainly will not feel the same without # 20. He is truly one of the greatest men to ever put on an Eagles uniform, both on the field and off. While I wish he could have finished his career with us, I have no hard feelings towards both sides moving on. It is not very often in this town where a player leaves on good terms." - David B

"Needless to say being a long time Eagles season ticket holder I am completely DISGUSTED and OUTRAGED with this franchise right now. We as fans say every year what our thoughts are about what the team needs and how come they do not do this and that. But come on!!!!! How can you not re-sign a player who is your emotional leader? In my opinion the only player in the league, maybe aside from Ray Lewis, who can generate so much emotion and passion for a team.

Here is a team who is consistently in the top of the league in free cap space money. This year I believe they have about 48 million (not exactly sure) and are the 3rd team in the league with free cap money. Hey Lurie how bout getting those 2 foot arms in those 4 foot deep pockets and spend a little. I know I know, people will say that they have been to so many NFC title games during the Reid tenure and they have made so many playoff appearances but unless I am completely oblivious to what the main goal of any team in the league is, it is to win a Super Bowl, period. Not almost get there, not lose when you get there. TO WIN!!!!!!! So I guess the Eagles feel this way by letting Dawkins walk?

Dawkins signed a 5 year with the Broncos with $7.2 million guaranteed and can be voided after 2 years with $9 million paid out. Um I may be oblivious once again but doesn’t that sound like a 2 year deal for $4.5 million a year. The Eagles could not have offered that to a guy who has been the HEART and SOUL of the franchise and even at 35 was NFC defensive player of the month in November and made the Pro Bowl. He probably would have taken a little less if it was a multi year deal because he has stated several times that he wanted to stay in Philly. What happened to the statement the Eagles made a week before free agency started that they will get a deal done with Dawkins and Tra ? One again Eagles THANKS FOR NOTHING!!!!!!!! Oh yeah that’s right they traded Sheppard to the Jets for a bag of balls and some Gatorade. HOORAY!" - Pat H

"Sad to think that without Dawkins and probably Runyan that the last leader standing is Mc Wuss. Hopefully, guys like Stuart Bradley and Sheldon Brown step up and assume a leadership role. With a weak free-agency class, things don't look great for the boys in green. Perhaps a run ay Ray Lewis to fill Akeem Jordan's role for a few years might help. Couldn't hurt!" - Rich G

"I wanted to see him play one more year and finish his career an Eagle. This FA loss, to me, is as big, if not bigger, than when Reggie White left. Very few players in any sport in this city had played with more passion and developed as strong a bond with the fans as Brian Dawkins. For an organization that has a reputation (deservedly or not) locally as being skinflints and unconscious when it comes to P.R., this is a major faux pas. That, and as far as on the field (let alone in the lockeroom), who exactly is going to replace him?

As far as B-Dawk the man goes, I’m glad he got a 2 yr. deal and some good money before he retired. He’s going to a decent team with good ownership and great fans. The Broncos need him (defense, especially vs. the run, was their Achilles last year). - Robin H

"Let me first start by saying when I heard that the front office had turned its back on the heart and soul of this team, the man that connected with the entire city I wasn’t surprised. I was livid, but I wasn’t surprised. After hearing the “interview” on the worst show on radio (eskin) my rage has been elevated from anger to a hate that burns with a white hot intensity inside of me. As I sat listening to this I can to one sobering conclusion. Joe Banner and Jeffery Lurie aren’t going to live forever, they will never sell the franchise but they will die someday, and hopefully someone will then take over the team that not only cares about the franchise, but understands the connection the fan base has with this team. We are so lucky to have a owner that didn’t want to move the team, like BANNER told us. But the fact of the matter is that Lurie still wishes he was able to buy the Patriots and the Eagles are his consolation prize. We you know what? Fuck you Lurie, this is MY team. You fucking talk out of both sides of your mouth. Secretly wishing you had the Pats and probably rooting for them and the other fucking Boston teams all the while owning the Eagles.

Now back to Banner and the eagles puppet. Not only did Eskin lack any objectivity he didn’t even have the integrity to ask a tough question for Joe Banner. His calls were screened and it seemed that all but the last were rehearsed. At least Dave Spadarro is open with the fact that he is a paid employee and isn’t the most objective voice in the crowd. It seems Howard is just as objective and tries to hide behind this veil that he is some sort of legitimate journalist, when he is nothing but a pompous, short and angry old man, that spits whatever opinion the Eagles want to put forward for his brainwashed listeners to absorb.

Now during this interview Banner said they had no interest in BOTH Ward and Hoosh.... I will start with Ward, Banner was quick to bring up that they have a feature back now (they do B. West is great) and that Ward has a injury history. That is fine and good, but I think the one reason they didn’t get him was they have a head coach that refuses to run the ball anyway. But to have a real threat to backup Westbrook would be a HUGE boost to this team. But then again coming form the team that thought the likes of Ryan Moats and Lorenzo Booker were great pickups. Having two strong backs would be a huge lift, hell maybe just maybe you get them both on the field at the same time.....Then it really could throw a wrinkle into a teams defensive scheme.

As for Hoosh...Granted he isn’t the prize I wanted, I’m on the Boldin camp. But for him to say that he feels Hoosh offers nothing that Jason Avant or Kevin Curtis bring to the table is insane. He has a head coach that throws every chance he can get. You get him you put jackson on the otherside and you put curtis back where he belongs and that is in the slot. But they feel they are perfectly set at WR and RB.

Hell while I’m pissed they still have questions at those positions along with TE, FB, S and the left side of the line.

Now for Dawkins, the answer the eagles are now considering to him is a guy who wait for it........ is a little over a YEAR younger then Dawkins and would be moving from his normal position to play safety. Does ANYONE else think this thinking isn’t flawed? We now have two safeties on our god damn roster. I think that drafting Jake last year with a torn knee is going to pay dividends, but god damn talking about putting your eggs in one basket. Also, Demps so far needs to learn alot to even come close to replacing dawkins also.

So now the question is, will the GOLD STANDARD do the right thing or manage to fuck this draft up too? We have two first round picks, if they trade one for a pick next year I’m going to loose my god damn mind. I have no problem them moving UP to draft a need but just don’t trade down or into next year again. We LOST in the championship game, we have holes to fill and at this point we will only fill them with a strong draft.

And once again let me close it with this, Banner and Lurie aren’t going to live forever. " - Jesse L


"I only know how to be one way and I genuinely care for the guys that I play with. Those are not words. I tell them, and they may roll their eyes, but I tell them that I love them. That's the type of relationship that I try to build. We have conversations not just about football. Whatever may be on their hearts to talk about, we talk about those things. We get to know each other on and off the field." - Brian Dawkins


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