"The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years," Dawkins said. "I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing In me. I would like 2 thank all my teammates & Coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that i have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL."
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported after Dawkins' announcement that the Eagles are working to bring the safety back this week so he can retire as an Eagle. The newspaper also reported that Dawkins would be honored during an Eagles game this season.
Dawkins finishes his career with 26 sacks and 37 interceptions. He played in one Super Bowl with the Eagles and made nine Pro Bowls (including this past season, as an alternate). Dawkins also was a four-time first-team All-Pro selection.
"Thank you, @BrianDawkins, for being a GREAT Bronco and showing such an incredible commitment to your team and community," Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway wrote on Twitter, adding: "Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career, Dawk!!!"
Dawkins battled neck injuries toward the end of the 2012 season and missed two of the Broncos' final three games of the regular season and the team's two playoff games.
"Brian Dawkins is one of the best to ever play the game, a future Hall of Famer who changed the way his position is played," Broncos coach John Fox said in a statement released by the team. "In many ways, he helped my job as a coach with his great leadership and preparation. He brought so much to the table and was such an enormous asset to our football team.
"His contributions go far beyond the wins, interceptions, sacks and Pro Bowls he accumulated during his career. Brian is the definition of class and is what you want in a leader. I know our players, coaches, fans and so many within the National Football League feel the same way."
"I'm a little emotional right now," Dawkins told The Post shortly after announcing his retirement, adding that he needs some time before he can talk.