Eagles Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins played through quite a bit during his 16-year NFL career. He played through the elements. He played through pain, both physical and mental. But in all his time in the league, he was never asked to play amid a pandemic.
On Wednesday, Dawkins was a guest on The Marc Farzetta Show on 97.5 The Fanatic and was asked about the possibility of playing in empty stadiums, without the fans that fed his seemingly limitless energy on the field, that "put the dog in him," as he once put it.
"I'm not gonna lie - the fans added to me," Dawkins said. "If you can't get juiced up and jacked up from the electricity of the fans standing up, cheering, screaming, and you can almost feel it - like you're at a concert, standing by the speaker, and your clothes feel like they're moving - you can't help but feel that electricity and have it add to you. But I would be able to go out and do what I needed to do.
"If you're gonna do it that way, do it like the old-school comedy shows, they had the laugh track. Just have somebody up in the booth ... you have the wave sound, everything. Somebody messes up too many times - booooo - you have the boo sound. I love it!"
But the conversation took a serious turn when Farzetta asked Dawkins, a nine-time Pro Bowler, what it would take as an active player today to feel comfortable playing amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
"A cure," he said.
He was then asked if he would sit out if there wasn't a cure when the NFL season began.
"It would be tough, man," Dawkins said. "Think about it like this - if I'm playing, and my girls have been born prematurely, and they're home, and they're fighting for their lives the first month, and they're still fighting. And my youngest daughter has bradycardia, which means she stops breathing from time to time, so you have to shake her. So now they're in that fragile state, and you want me to go out and play, and risk bringing that back into my household, I couldn't do that. I could not risk bringing something back into that house and that vulnerable state. If I did, I couldn't be around my family. I would have to be quarantined in another hotel and live away from them, and I can't do that.
"It wouldn't be a tough decision, because I know what I would do. But it would be tough, because I know what I would want to be doing."
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Brian Dawkins weighs in on 2020 NFL season amid coronavirus pandemic originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia