One way or another, it will be an emotional weekend for Broncos’ running back Correll Buckhalter and safety Brian Dawkins. Both players are returning to Philadelphia to play their former team on Sunday.
Before joining the Broncos this past offseason, Buckhalter spent eight seasons with the Eagles, while Dawkins was with them for 13 and made the Pro Bowl seven times. He knows Sunday will be special.
“It’s going to be an electric atmosphere, I know that,” Dawkins said this week. “It’s going to be hyped. But once the whistle is blown and kickoff after that, it’s football.”
Buckhalter is looking forward to the trip.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s going to be a lot of people there I had some good time with as well as people in the organization that gave me an opportunity,” Buckhalter said this week.
Philadelphia fans are notoriously hard to please. The old saying that they would boo Santa Claus isn’t far from the truth.
But it will be interesting to see the reception they give to Dawkins and Buckhalter, two players whose work ethic endeared them to the Philly faithful perhaps as much as anyone can.
“Philly is a blue collar place,” Dawkins said. “They work hard for what they have. They want someone to care as much as they do. If they don’t feel like you’re giving your all, if they don’t feel like you’re pouring yourself out on the field, they’re going to let you know about it. They’re not going to hold their tongues. They’re going to let you know how they feel.”
They felt pretty good about Dawkins for years.
“I’ve always played with my emotions on my shoulders. Whatever I feel like, that’s what I let out. I’ve always been that way and I think that connected with them,” Dawkins recollected this week.
“I think me and Dawk should get a pretty good reception,” Buckhalter admitted. “I think the fans will embrace us. At the same time, we play for Denver now. We have a job to do and that’s to beat our opponent, which is the Eagles.”
And therein rests the challenge. Despite the sentimental story of two well-liked and likely-missed heroes returning back to the scene of many triumphs, the Broncos desperately need a win to stay on track for a playoff berth.
If they win their final two games, the Broncos will punch their ticket to the playoffs. If they lose, well, a myriad of scenarios exist.
All of this is not lost on Dawkins.
“This is not just about me going back home,” Dawkins said. “This is about the Denver Broncos going into Philadelphia, a tough place to play, and (going) against a very good football team. That’s where our focus needs to be.”
The Eagles are 10-4 and fighting for a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. They will bring their best against the Broncos.
Will the Broncos have enough to pull off an upset on the road? I’d love to get your thoughts.
Thanks for reading and posting.