Brian Dawkins: The Best Eagle Ever

 

 

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Brian Dawkins 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Speech

Faith, family & football: these are the three key elements in the life of Brian Dawkins, arguably one of the best players to don a Philadelphia Eagles uniform in the modern era. Dawkins is passionate about everything, and everything starts with faith. Faith the noun and faith the verb were Dawkins’ No. 1 traits. He practiced what he preached and he lived what he learned.

Dawkins’ speech at the 2018 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony was one for the ages. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and stop reading right now and watch it. Please. It’s totally worth it. B-Dawk was the first Eagle to reach the Hall since Reggie White, the “Minister of Defense” in 2005, and it was worth the wait. I’ve watched the clip over and over and I’m moved to tears and cry like a baby every time.

Dawkins began his speech by giving praise to God. He shouted “hallelujah” before uttering any other words. It set the tone and paved the way for a stirring, rousing, emotionally moving speech that revealed that there was no shame in Brian Dawkins game. His past, private struggles are now very public, as he detailed how his pain gave birth to his gain. Dawkins faith and his family, especially his wife, were vital to helping him deal with the vicissitudes of his life,

Dawkins was a great football player and he wasn’t great by accident. He was a great player because he is a better person. He urged everyone not to settle, but to push through the pain, because there is purpose in pain. You saw how he played the game; he played with reckless abandon. And that’s how he lives. Dawkins told us that his pain increased his faith exponentially. He said that he went “through” his struggles – he did not stay in them. And he encouraged everyone with these words: “Don’t stay where you are; keep moving and keep pressing through.”  

If we didn’t learn anything else from the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, we learned this; it’s faith that gets us through, it’s family that carries us through, and football, for most of the inductees, as rough and tough as it can be, connected the two together. Brian Dawkins, Randy Moss and Ray Lewis are symbols of the faith we need to have in God, the strength that family gives us, and the joy of being a part of a championship caliber team that endures pain and struggle and secures victories and upsets and comebacks and turnarounds in providential ways. 

So take it from Brian Dawkins: push through. There’s s gain on the other side of your pain.

 

Dak Prescott And  Ezekiel Elliott Are In The Hall of Fame ALREADY?

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If you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, right about now, you’re licking your chops. Why? Here’s why.

Former Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has played just six NFL games, but his jersey already is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And so has his rookie roommate and running mate, Ezekiel Elliott.

The Canton, Ohio-based Hall of Fame has acquired the jerseys of Prescott and Elliott, as announced in a Twitter post.

Prescott and Elliott have become the first quarterback/running back rookie duo ever to pass for 1,000 yards and rush for 500 in their first five (now six) games. They have helped Dallas lead the NFC East with a record of 5-1. The Cowboys’ fourth-round draft pick, Prescott, emerged as the starter in the preseason after Tony Romo sustained a fracture in his back.

Prescott is 125-of-182 for 1,486 yards and seven touchdowns. He is closing in on the all-time NFL record for most passes to start a career without an interception, a mark currently held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Elliott has rushed for 703 yards in SIX Games, and averages 5.1 yards a carry. He has five touchdowns. Goodness gracious. 

Yes, they’re in the Hall of Fame  — ALREADY!

Brett Favre: “No Regrets”

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Brett Favre bust the Hall of Fame wide open.

A first-ballot selection, Brett Lorenzo Favre, 46, retired — finally — in 2010 after 20 seasons. Sixteen of those came in Green Bay, where he helped resurrect a franchise that was without a title since the Lombardi era until Favre & Co. won Super Bowl XXXI. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame last summer and his retired No. 4 was unveiled on the Lambeau Field façade on Thanksgiving night last year, with one of his idols, Bart Starr, in the house.

In an inspiring, motivating, rousing, off-the-cuff speech, just as he’d predicted, Favre spoke just over 36 minutes (the longest speech in Hall of Fame history) and devoted nearly nine minutes to honor his father, Irv, who died in 2003 on the eve of one of his greatest performances: a 399-yard, four-touchdown game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football.  It was a game in which he almost did not play.

Brett shared this about his preparation for his HOF speech: 

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17235517/brett-favre-inducted-pro-football-hall-fame-mass-green-bay-packers-fans-hand 

With my dad, I think what I want to get across, and it’s no big secret, is about [how] important he was to my life and my career, which was extremely important. There’s a lot of people who are important to my career and my success, but none more important than my dad, and I want to make sure I get that across.

The NFL’s iron-man quarterback started a record 297 consecutive regular-season games. It began when he replaced Don Majkowski in the Packers’ starting lineup on Sept. 27, 1992, and ended on Dec. 13, 2010, when the Vikings turned in their pregame inactive list with No. 4 on it.

Along the way, the free-wheeling Favre threw for an NFL-record 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns, marks that were later eclipsed by Peyton Manning. He still holds the record for most career interceptions (336). Favre won all three of his Most Valuable Player awards in succession (1995-97) with the Packers.

He closed with some advice:

Work as hard as you possibly can, lay it all on the line, and whatever happens, happens,” Favre said. “But you won’t look back and regret.

I don’t regret anything. That’s not to say it was perfect. I don’t regret anything, and that’s what I’m most proud of.

And that’s how we should live our lives; with verve and vigor and gumption and gusto  . . .  and no regrets. So thanks Brett. Thanks for the memories. You went out like you came in, and we’ll forever hold you in high esteem for your love for your dad, and your love of  the game.

Brett Favre On How to Make It to the Hall of Fame

Brett Farve

How To Make It To Hall Of Fame: Do Your Talking On The Field 

Brett Favre and Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison and Orlando Pace and Kevin Greene and Edward DeBartolo Jr. and Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel are the 2016 class that has now been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.  It’s quite a class. And out of all of them, Brett Favre is probably the biggest name who had the most “game” amongst them. But that doesn’t take away from the others, namely my man Tony Dungy, or a homeboy from Philly, Marvin Harrison.

These all made it into the Hall because of what they said on the field. And that goes for Ed DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner who cared for his players and his coaches like a proud father. The players played hard and practiced long and won big season after season, and now they are being recognized and rewarded for their tremendous contributions and influence and impact upon the game.

But it remains that Brett stole the show at the 2016 HOF Ceremony. And what struck me most was that he gave thanks to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brett is one of many, but also one of the most magnificent examples of the intersection of God and sports. So I hope to meet him one day to tell him personally. His speech was one for the ages as he spoke of sports and sportsmanship and faith and fair play and toughness and togetherness. Thanks Brett. You indeed redeemed yourself, and your dad is certainly Godly proud of you. 

So how do you make it to the Hall of Fame? What do you have to do and what do you have to go through and who do you have to know where do you have to go to get into the Hall of Fame? The answer?  Do your talking on the field.  We all know that what you do is more important than what you say, but what you say must be backed up by what you do. Because talk can be cheap.  And what you do can speak louder and sound better and preach harder than anything and everything you say.

So, you don’t have to try to get into the Hall of fame. Just let your life do the talking. Ed DeBartolo, Jr. and Tony Dungy gave inspiring speeches tonight because they have lived inspiring lives. So, if your living has made a difference from the regular and been a departure from the norm and made a distinction among the mundane, you too will be among the names that are listed in life’s hall of fame.

Hall of Fame, Life of Shame

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Lawrence Julius Taylor, nicknamed “LT”, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1999. In the touching photo above, after the son introduced his father, they embraced and gave us this tender, moving memory.

The Hall of Fame was his destiny. The rash and brash linebacker for the New York “Football” Giants was arguably the best to play the game at his position.  On the field, he was tough and torrid, ruthless and relentless, hard-hitting and bull rushing; he was loved by many but loathed by many more.  Off the field, the description of his life was equally yet inequitably the opposite side of the same coin: rough and ragged, tragic and turbulent, messy and moody; his was a loose life and an edgy existence.

A sure “Hall of Famer” from day one, Taylor played his entire professional career for his beloved Giants (1981–1993), most of which with his befriended coach,  Bill Parcells. By playing outside linebacker he changed the game of football by shadowing the quarterback, often forcing a bad pass. He is considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of football, and has been ranked as the greatest defensive player in league history by former players, coaches, media members, and news outlets such as the NFL Network, and Sporting News. Said one coach of Taylor: “He was reckless, just reckless.”

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While elected to the Hall of Fame he also lived a life of shame. In contrast to his success on the football field, Taylor’s personal life has been marred by drug usage and controversy. When Taylor was once asked what he could do that no outside linebacker could, his answer was, “Drink”. However, alcohol abuse was not the largest of his substance abuse problems. After admitting to and testing positive for cocaine in 1987, he was suspended from football for 30 days in 1988 after failing a second drug test. After his second positive test he gave up drugs for five years as a third positive test would have ended his career.

His life of shame was as brash and as brazen as his rise to fame. Taylor often spoke of his NFL years, which he played with reckless abandon, and the drug-abusing stages of his life as the “L.T.” periods of his life. He described “L.T.” as an adrenaline junkie who lived life on a thrill ride. Taylor said in 2003 that “L. T. died a long time ago, and I don’t miss him at all…all that’s left is Lawrence Taylor.”[1]

LT Saved by Golf

The Hall of Fame and a life of shame. It doesn’t seem that the two should go together, but unfortunately, sometimes they do. Just ask Samson. Samson is listed in the Biblical “Hall of Faith.”  On the field, Samson could single-handedly route the Philistines and sack their leaders with his bull rush anointing. Off the field, Samson fell prey to the wiles of whimsical women, not the least of which included devilish Delilah, through whose machinations he lost his spiritual power. Samson lost his heart and his hair, his sense and his sight in a most shameful way; he was sentenced to a disgraceful and dishonorable life after his standout career as a judge who once delivered Israel. 

Hebrews Chapter 11 recounts the heroic exploits of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Moses, Joshua and Rahab; Gideon, David and Samuel. And yes, Samson made this list in spite of his reckless, loose and licentious living. Samson made the list and is included with other Biblical greats in the Hall of Faith. God’s grace allowed Samson’s life to be an example for us to follow, and not to follow.  His strength was laudable, and his weakness was deplorable. 

Lest we’re too hard on Sampson and LT, we all must remember that we too can go from fame to shame.  We can all learn lessons, discern distinctives, and earn points for life from both sides of the same spiritual coin. In the end, Samson yet again delivered Israel, and in death he defeated more Philistines than he killed in his life.

In his death, his life of shame indeed was turned back to a life fame.