No rest for disappointed Eagles safety
KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- As a four-time Pro Bowler, safety Brian Dawkins stands apart from many of his Philadelphia teammates. He did so even more Tuesday morning as the lone Eagle participating in the NFC's practice at Ihilani Resort.
"I decided to come early just in case something went wrong," said Dawkins, one of 10 Eagles to make the team.
2004 SEASON STATISTICS Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int 70 67 3 2 3 4
In his eyes, as well as of those associated with the franchise and supporters in the City of Brotherly Love, that something took place two nights ago when Philadelphia lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. Had the Eagles succeeded in capturing their first-ever Super Bowl title, there would have been a victory celebration in Philadelphia.
Instead, Dawkins was already back on the field running plays -- not hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in a victory parade along Broad Street.
"The end result of it, the blue and red confetti," Dawkins recalled as the lasting image of Sunday's disappointment.
"I know that we did everything we could, we just turned the ball over too much [four times] and we couldn't do what we were supposed to do defensively getting them off the field."Dawkins was one of three Eagles defensive backs and five defenders to make the Pro Bowl squad. And during the first half of Sunday's game, Philadelphia's defense looked like an all-star crew. The Eagles held New England to seven points, 143 yards and disrupted the rhythm of AFC Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady.APDawkins and the Eagles had a hold on Pats RB Corey Dillion early, but struggled later in the Super Bowl.
However, the second half was a different story. The Patriots scored on three of their first four possessions following intermission and wide receiver Deion Branch, the game's MVP, frequently found openings in the secondary.
"They just started making plays," said Dawkins, who was in on just five tackles Sunday. "[There are] always things in the game, even when you win, you would like to have back. All in all, there's nothing I can do about it."
What he will do at this point is enjoy another free trip across the Pacific, soaking in the sun and spending time on the beach with his wife, Connie.
"Every time is wonderful," said the nine-year veteran. "Nothing is like the first one, but this one is special because last year I had a foot injury that some people thought was career ending."
Dawkins suffered a Lis Franc foot sprain in the 2003 season opener against Tampa Bay and missed nine games. He bounced back this year, recording 70 tackles, four interceptions and three sacks.
Now, he finds himself with another challenge: Helping the Eagles get back to -- and win -- the Super Bowl.
"We didn't do what we set out to do, but we'll be back next year," Dawkins said.
James C. Black is an NFL Editor for ESPN.com and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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