Weapon X has been deactivated.
Dawkins is an Eagle for life, this notion of him needing to come back for a one-day contract and officially "retire" as a member of the team be damned. In Denver, Dawk was admired. In Philly, he was deified.
He's far and away the best defensive back to play for the Birds, and he's at least in the discussion with Reggie White and Concrete Charlie as the best defensive player in Eagles history.
As heartless and apathetic as Donovan McNabb was perceived to be, Dawkins was on the exact opposite point on the spectrum. Even if some of the Eagles' failures later in McNabb and Dawkins' careers could be blamed as much on Dawk and the defense as Donnie and the offense, nobody gave Dawkins grief because at least everyone knew he came to play on Sunday. Forget Ray Lewis. Dawk would get you to a level of excitement for a Week 2 game with the Bengals that Ray Lewis couldn't boost you to before a Super Bowl.
No game felt out of reach because, on any given play in the second half, there was always a 50-50 chance Dawk would come up with some monstrous strip or interception.
Dawk is the only reason Mike Patterson has a touchdown in his lifetime.
Traditional stats only tell part of the story when talking about how well a guy played defense, but only James Harrison forced more fumbles (7) in 2008 than Dawkins did (6) in his last year as an Eagle. Dawkins was 35 at the time.
We all remember where we were when we found out the Eagles let Dawk go. Let him get away, let him sign a deal with the Broncos (???). I was in the car, on my way home from school for spring break (yeah, in February. Let's go Duquesne!) Not that WIP was ever the realm of the rational and level-headed, but whichever two schumcks were on there that day could only watch as caller after caller turned the show into the SportsCenter Y2K test commercial.
And of course, there was this whole thing.
The 1150th day since the regime replaced Dawk...
For those who haven't been paying attention, it's been three years and the Eagles still haven't replaced Dawkins. They've been tossing out a mashed-up ball of Quintins Mikell and Demps, Sean Jones, Macho Harris, Jared Page, Kurt Coleman, Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. They would've tossed Marlin Jackson into the fray too if he wasn't already a mashed-up ball of Achilles tendons and ACL's himself. Nobody has stuck at either safety position, particularly since Mikell was freed to sign with the Rams.
There won't be another like him in an Eagles uniform - and, unlike most Philly sports legends, Dawkins finally seems like the rare great one that fans never took for granted, and never will.
Godspeed, Weapon X.