Monday, December 22, 2008

This One Hurt

By Steve Lienert

The Phanatic Magazine

LANDOVER, MD. -- While switching between the Eagles’ team bus and the train following Sunday’s devastating loss at Washington, a big, fat Redskins fan that worked for Amtrak stood by heckling the team.

“We got y’all twice this year,” the redneck beckoned, among other things I don’t feel like typing right now. And no one, including yours truly, could do anything about it.

However, I certainly wanted to and my co-workers saw it. One of them had to pull me away from endangering my job, because I wanted a piece of that SOB.

About 25 minutes earlier, I was standing to Brian Dawkins’ right as he faced the media after the 10-3 loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field. Dawkins, to say the least, was despondent.

This is a man that commands respect. Right after the game, a game in which he did everything he could in his power to will his team to victory, Dawkins sat in his uniform at his locker in tears.

He always has the last press conference, but this time he took longer than he ever had to reach the podium.

While he stood there, as composed and as strong as ever, B-Dawk said exactly how he felt. He didn’t care what else has to happen for the Eagles to get in the playoffs. They had a chance to grab the bull by the horns but instead they were gored.

Earlier during the game in the third quarter, Dawkins ran onto the field prior to another second-half possession.

The offense was about to embark on another drive that began inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line, but Dawkins ran up to each player and butted helmets, slapped five and shouted motivation, trying to provide a spark to an otherwise stagnant game.

He’s 35-years old now and maybe he can’t do some of the things he could when he was 25. And that’s one large ‘maybe.’

He’s still the undeniable leader of this team. But his time here is slowly, or perhaps not-so-slowly, dwindling to an end.

Last night in the bowels of FedEx Field, it seemed like Dawkins looked into the lights at the end of his proverbial tunnel, perhaps for the first time.

His time is running short and imagining him in another uniform is too foreign to even consider.

Dawkins is a life-long Eagle – he doesn’t want to go anywhere else. He wants to win here. But after losses like the one in D.C. on Sunday, it’s easy to think that it’s just not gonna happen here while Dawkins is still running out of the tunnel on game day.

This isn’t like when Charles Barkley was traded to the Suns. He bitched and moaned his way out of town. Dawkins would never do that. Not in a million years.

That’s what makes this so heartbreaking. We are watching football greatness defined in almost every way but one and that’s with a Super Bowl championship.

After watching Dawkins’ reaction following the season-imperiling loss to the Redskins yesterday, that’s the only way a player like Dawkins would like to be defined.

A player of his caliber deserves nothing less.

Steve Lienert can be reached at

(PS. For those expecting parts III and IV of ‘So That’s What That’s Like,’ there’s possible litigation involved, so I’ll have to get back to you on that after it’s over. Sorry about the delay, but that’s all I can really say about that now. Look at it this way: There’s another reason to relive the Phillies World Championship later this month! Thanks for your patience in this trying time.)

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