NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins Sits Down With The Whit

Brian Dawkins and Derrick Gunn during "An Evening with Brian Dawkins" on Monday night. Dawkins would sit down with The Whit prior to this event. Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. - Staff Photographer / Ashley Craven

Rowan University’s Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact held one of their biggest events yet this past Monday when NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia Eagle Brian Dawkins came to campus for “An Evening with Brian Dawkins,” hosted by NFL reporter Derrick Gunn.

The event was held at Pfleeger Concert Hall and allowed all in attendance to hear Gunn and Dawkins talk about everything from his football career to his personal life to his autobiography. The first 100 students in line for the event got a free copy of Dawkins’ book, “Blessed by the Best: My Journey to Canton and Beyond.”

Before the event, The Whit got the chance to sit down with Dawkins, where he explained why doing an event like this one, especially in the Philadelphia area, was important to him.

“The city has meant so much to me, because I grew into a man here. I came here as a young man, fresh out of college, and I grew into literally a man here in Philadelphia. So it has blessed me in so many ways, and I actually lived in Mount Laurel, right up the road, and then in Cherry Hill. So, I lived in that community,” Dawkins said. “Now, to come back and to share some of the things– the wisdom that I’ve been blessed to gain in my life, to whomever has a heart to listen and an ear to understand… it’s something I believe I’m supposed to do.”

Something else that Dawkins felt like he was meant to do was write his autobiography, even though, for a while, it was something he never imagined himself doing. 

“First of all, I never thought I was going to write a book. Growing up, reading was not something I enjoyed, unless it was a comic book or a graphic novel or something like that,” Dawkins said. “But I knew, once again, I knew that I’ve been blessed to grow through things; I’ve been blessed to have a mindset that’s different — it literally is different and, intentionally, I have done things a specific way.”

With that in mind, despite the fact that Dawkins is one of the biggest football players to play in Philadelphia, he doesn’t want people who plan to read his book to think of it as a “football book”.

“It’s not necessarily a football book. It’s literally a life book,” Dawkins said. “It’s literally a life book of the things that I’ve grown through in my life and how my perspective of different events have led me to have some of the– I won’t say some of the success, the majority of success that I’ve had in my life.”

Having the perspectives and life experiences that he does is what ultimately helped him come to the decision to write his book.

“So, that’s why I was then led to do it,” Dawkins said. “After I retired, after I was an executive and after the Super Bowl run– after we won the Super Bowl, when we were on the parade. I was literally– my heart was literally changing into doing more than just being in a NFL facility.”

In the process of writing this book, Dawkins would have to relive many different parts of his life, both the good and the hard times, but he didn’t view that as a negative thing.

“Those were blessings, because this is something– I consider that stuff to be triumphs. They were tough, yes. They were painful in that moment. But now that I look back over them [and] I understand, first of all, that they were necessary for me to be the man that I am today,” Dawkins said. “That’s why, when I look back over those — when I read those stories — it’s a smile [that] comes to my face, because I know that once again, those are things I’ve overcome, I’ve grown through and I’m stronger because of it.”

When asked what he was hoping the Rowan community would get from listening to him and Gunn talk that night, Dawkins’ answer was pretty simple.

“At least one thing,” Dawkins said. “Whatever, I don’t know what it is going to be as me and Derrick [Gunn] get up and we do what we do, as far as playing off one another. I just hope that it’s one thing that hits each person that they can take from this that allows them to push through whatever they’re going through, at whatever point they go through it, so they can be better when it’s all said and done.”

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