By TJ Dietsch
Some say athletes might be the closest things we have to super heroes in real life. They wear brightly colored uniforms, exude skills that most do not possess and enter their own form of battle on a regular basis.
Philadelphia Eagle Brian Dawkins exemplified all of those attributes in his days as a safety for the team and even considered himself akin to a certain member of the X-Men, adopting “Wolverine” and “Weapon X” as monikers.
This Sunday, during the Eagles' meeting with the New York Giants, the team will retire Dawkins’ jersey number, 20, in honor of his 12-year career in Philadelphia spanning 1996 to 2008. To commemorate the occasion, the Eagles will give away a poster by artist Jorge Molina featuring Dawkins in his Wolverine pose at Sunday's game.
“It occurred to several people here at the same time,” Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski says of the poster’s inception. “Dawk loved Wolverine; his locker was full of action figures. And he would get incredibly fired up before games; he called it ‘turning into Weapon X.’”
Dawkins curbed his berserker rage and focused it into his role as a defenseman, earning plenty of honors along the way.
|Brian Dawkins poster by Jorge Molina|
“Like Logan himself, Brian Dawkins wasn’t the biggest warrior on the battlefield, but he never backed down from a challenge, was legendarily resilient, was unerringly loyal to his team and was feared as one of the hardest hitters in the league,” Marvel Custom Solutions editor Bill Rosemann notes. “During his amazing career in Philadelphia, he started in 182 of 183 games, piled up 898 tackles, 34 interceptions [and] 21 sacks, was a nine-time Pro-Bowl selection, a six-time All-Pro and a member of the Eagles 75th Anniversary Team and the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. Yes, bub, he was the best there is at what he did.”
“Dawk flew over the field,” Smolenski adds. “He was a safety, and when he made impact, you might as well have been clobbered by a super hero.”
Having one’s number retired stands as one of the highest honors a professional football player can earn.
“They have to be the best of the best of the best—players who inspire their teammates, excite the fans, and deliver at an elite level on the field,” Smolenski says. “This will only be the eighth number we’ve ever retired in our 80-year history, and the first since 2005.”
With the comparison between player and character well established as well as the monumental honor in mind, Rosemann and company went about actually designing the poster with Molina.
“Our friends at the Eagles hooked us up with many great photos of Brian, specifically of his Wolverine pose that he would strike when entering the field before each game,” Rosemann explains. “From there, Jorge submitted a few options and together we narrowed it down to the final design, complete with the detailed view of Lincoln Financial Field and the glorious Philly skyline.”
Rosemann reveals that Molina got the gig because of his bold style, one that Smolenski greatly appreciates.
“As seen by his recent X-MEN covers, Jorge delivers an eye-catching mix of dynamic design, realistic detailing and heroic emotion,” the editor shares. “And with that experience working with our mighty mutants, who better to transform Brian Dawkins into his clawed counterpart?”
“What an honor to have Jorge do the drawing,” Smolenski says. “He’s a superstar in his own right.”
To see Dawkins get the first look at the poster, tune into the game between the Eagles and Giants at 8:20 PM EST Sunday night on NBC.