I’ve been waiting for the former player reaction to Joe Banner’s departure and now we have Brian Dawkins’s comments on 97.5 The Fanatic, as recorded by Sheil Kapadia:
“I just think that the way things have been done for so long there, and we did have some success, but the way that some of the guys that are in house had to always scrap, fight and do different things in order to just get a deal, it kind of wears on guys,” Dawkins said. “And that was really the philosophy of this team, the way that they did things. I’m not saying that it’s going to change 100 percent going forward. The thing that I would love to see is guys in house be able to be kept. That was one of the things that always kind of frustrated me as a player, that guys who are in house and doing everything they can to improve the team are let go pretty easily, and then you go out and pay big bucks for free agents coming in.”
“When you feel like every guy that you see on your team constantly has to go through the same ringer and have the same conversations and have the same type of dealings that you have, it’s a frustrating thing,” Dawkins said. ”I just know that certain situations and certain things could have been handled differently, and there would have been a completely different feeling about doing business in Philadelphia.”
Tommy Lawlor also commented on this yesterday, and I think he comes across as defensive. Yes, the players he listed — such as Vincent, Douglas, and Staley — were ones the front office made the right call on. But what about Jeremiah Trotter, whose absence hurt the Eagles defense on their Super Bowl run? What about Sheldon Brown, whom the Eagles thought they could replace with Ellis Hobbs and Dimitri Patterson? What about Dawkins and Quintin Mikell, both of whom probably deserved another couple of years? What about Banner’s incalcitrance toward DeSean Jackson while paying Steve Smith more than $2 million?
Even more than any individual player, it’s the negative attitude in the locker room that really hurts. Healthy businesses in every industry have to make tough choices and sometimes let people go. But if employees — especially key performers — feel disrespected, that’s going to haunt you in the long run.
Update: Some more choice quotes from Trotter and Brian Westbrook:
“It was hard for players to trust the front office… Even when you let guys go at the end of their careers, there’s a way of doing that,” Trotter said. “The way Brian Dawkins left, there’s no way that he should have been ran out the door the way he was. Or if you’re going to let him go, just say ‘hey, we’re going to move in a different direction.’ Don’t tell the public that we offered him a good contract, but he didn’t want that.”
“And for him, it was a straight business,” said Westbrook. “It was by the numbers, and the problem that you have in that as a player is you build relationships, so it’s not necessarily only by the numbers. There’s a value having Brian Dawkins on that team, even though he’s not the guy that he was at 25, and by the numbers at 33, he should be declining in his play. It’s a value of having those types of guys on your team instead of letting him to go to Denver and allowing him to go to two Pro Bowls after that.”