Newly inducted Professional Football Hall of Famer and former All-American Clemson safety, Brian Dawkins did much more than give a speech when he became inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past Saturday night.
In a 22-minute acceptance speech, Dawkins dove deep into his personal life and explained how he suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts early on into his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The nine-time Pro Bowler delivered a very powerful and heartfelt message that some say saved lives. What made the moment even more special was that his family, including his son and current Clemson cornerback Brian Dawkins Jr. were in attendance to soak it all in.
“(It was) emotional,” Dawkins Jr. said after the third day of fall camp on Monday night. “I cried like a baby. Obviously, I’m proud to see him up there.
“It just felt right to see him up there, to see the road that he took. Just to be there from the start it was obviously a blessing, a great blessing.”
Dawkins Jr., who knows his father as well as anyone, said his dad is the type of person to open up and show his vulnerability. He also said he and his father would not be where they are without Dawkins Jr.’s mother.
“My dad will give you his full honesty when it needs to be addressed,” he said. “That’s something that he felt needed to be shared. Especially with my mom because my mom is basically the rock of our family. She’s our hero and without her my dad would not be here today.”
Dawkins Jr., who is now a redshirt sophomore for the Tigers, has a close bond with both of his parents and that helps him become better on and off of the field every day.
“Yes, every single day (he talks to his parents),” Dawkins Jr. said. “I constantly talk to him about football and life and just the Lord. I also talk to my mom about things as well so both of my parents help me to be better.”