There probably isn’t a single moment that Philadelphia Eagles fans have taken more personally over the 18 years that Joe Banner was the team president than when safety Brian Dawkins was allowed to leave via free agency following the 2008 season.
The impact that Dawkins had on the Eagles from 1996 to 2008, especially during the nine years that Andy Reid had the Eagles as a contender, can literally not be measured in terms of impact. He was the leader, the most important and influential player on defense.
And when he left, it ripped out the hearts of Eagles fans. It’s probably the signature moment that turned fans against then-president Joe Banner.
On Thursday, Banner admitted that his handling of the Dawkins departure was one of his biggest regrets as the Eagles president.
“I think that there were times where the true appreciation we had for the contributions of some of our players, you know, Brian Dawkins comes to mind the most,” Banner said. “That certain situations were handled in a way that maybe the true, sincere, deep caring we had for those people didn’t show the way it should have. I think those players were close enough to us personally to know how we felt, but I also understand how perceptions are driven. And those are people we care about deeply and cherish and value and were invaluable to what we were trying to do here, and there were times I wish that could have been handled a little cleaner, primarily from a public relations perspective.”
What’s done is done. However it’s nice to know that Banner at least realizes how badly he screwed up the Dawkins departure.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for Eagles Central and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.