For so long, Brian Dawkins and Pat Burrell represented their respective Philadelphia franchises better than anyone.
Dawkins was the hard-hitting, never-say-die leader of one of the best defenses in football, racking up Pro Bowl invites as often as his Eagles earned NFC Championship Game berths.
Burrell was the underachieving left fielder, the number one pick who never lived up to the hype while starring for the oh-so-close Phillies through the early 2000's.
Both had spent their entire careers in Philadelphia.
But at the end, it changed.
Dawkins still hit as hard as anyone, but reports indicated that defensive coordinator Jim Johnson had altered his game plan to protect his safety from being exploited in the passing game. After yet another letdown in the 2009 NFC Championship Game, the Eagles, risking the outrage of an entire fanbase, found the courage to let Brian Dawkins walk. Any subsequent comments from Dawkins on his departure were uniformly met with passionate weeping.
Meanwhile, Burrell dominated the opening months for a Phillies team hot off their first postseason appearance since 1993. He faltered down the stretch but his team shined, and his seventh-inning double in Game 5 of the World Series led to the title-clinching run. Receiving a hero's goodbye while leading the first Philadelphia championship parade in over 25 years, Pat Burrell moved down south to Tampa Bay, with seemingly few regrets.
Funny how things work out, isn't it?