This Story About Brian Dawkins and Gary Papa Will Likely Make You Cry

Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at 5.06.19 PMPhoto: Bob Monek

Action News sports producer Mark Meany wins the day with this story about Brian Dawkins.

In 2009, after the Eagles beat the Giants to advance to the NFC Championship game, Dawkins was scheduled to do an interview with Gary Papa, who was just months away from losing a long, difficult battle with cancer.

Papa couldn’t make the long walk beneath Giants Stadium to the Eagles locker room, so Meany went to grab Dawkins. He explained to Dawkins that Papa couldn't make the walk and was on the other side of the stadium. But Dawkins, too, was hurting, limping from a hard-fought game and season. It looked like the interview wasn't going to happen.

We’ll let Meany pick up the story:

A quick discussion ensued between myself, Dawkins and Eagles media relations manager Ryan Nissan. It was quickly determined that Dawkins was too hurt to make the walk. We would have to cancel the interview. That is, until I said one simple thing to Dawkins, "Gary's in bad shape, he's having a really rough day."

Dawkins looked me in the eye and said, "Let's go."

The walk down the hallway through the bowels of Giants Stadium took forever. Dawkins was limping and silent the entire way. We finally got to Gary, who was sitting down and still gathering his strength. Dawkins walked up to Gary and helped him out of the chair.

Then the two embraced.

Both men, two of the toughest I've ever met, began to sob in each other's arms. It went on for what seemed like forever. I then noticed that through the entire embrace, Dawkins was whispering in Gary's ear. I'm not sure that whispering can be described as intense, but that's what this was.

Dawkins was giving Gary a pep talk, a pregame speech before a tough game. It was vintage Dawkins.


Yeah, that’s a lump in your throat. Go read the whole story.

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32 Responses

  1. The Eagles haven’t been the same since he left. He always left it all on the field. And in the NFL nowadays dominated by primma donnas, caring more about money and notoriety, the man was and is a class act. He didn’t need to run his mouth. He let his play do the talking. He was one of a kind and by far my favorite athlete to ever put on a Philly uniform. There will NEVER be another like him. The only sad thing about his entire career is that he never was able to win a championship. A true football player, and a great man.

  2. Total Awesomeness.
    Letting Dawkins go was flat out fucking wrong on so many levels. You cannot simply replace people like Gary Papa and Brian Dawkins because they bring more to the table than the average person.
    If Gary Papa was just some ordinary local sports caster and if Brian Dawkins was just some ordinary self-absorbed pro-athlete this story would not carry the weight and power of the awesomeness that it most certainly carries. This story would not even exist, and I would not be sitting here enriched for having read it.
    Great stuff, Kyle. Thanks for posting it here today.

  3. Fucking heebie kikebergers who run the Eagles only have loyalty for coons like Michael Vick instead of warriors like Brian Dawkins

  4. Norman Braman gave Mike Quick an empty golf bag.
    In the 90s, an Eagle lineman retired, cant recall his name. He was with the Vikings during his career as well. He needed his files from both teams for pension,etc.
    The Vikings gave him his info….The Eagles office charged him .65 cents a page.

  5. It’s stories like this that make me happy people like Brian Dawkins got rich playing professional sports. He’s just a good person and he deserves all the accolades he gets.

  6. Thanks Kyle for linking this story, never would have seen it and very glad I did. Showing to my boys right now, will give them a little context for Sunday night.

  7. Stories like this make you appreciate some of the real class acts that are still around in professional sports. Brian was one of a kind and there isn’t any way to replace a guy like him.
    Legends never die.

  8. Somebody posted on another site that Dawkins played so fiercely because by the time the ball carrier got to him, Dawkins was pissed that the ball carrier got to him in the first place.

  9. On my final day, after 20 years at 6abc, Gary came down to my office to say goodbye. He was in remission, at that point, and that’s the Gary I prefer to remember….easily one of the most well/liked people in the building. But, this story, is the real story about Gary…who soldiered on till he simply couldn’t do it anymore. This guy could light up a room by his mere presence. I will never, ever forget him. He was one of a kind.

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