"I'm extremely, extremely happy for Brian and his family," McDermott said. "This an honor that is well deserved and something that he earned every step of the way. Brian is one of the best players I've been around. First and foremost, he is a class act off the field. And then, on the field, the way he approached the game and the way he inspired everyone around him to raise their game to another level and then the passion in which he played the game are really second to none."

McDermott has referenced Dawkins often in his one year in Buffalo. While Dawkins may have learned from McDermott, the Bills' coach seemed to take just as much away from his time working with Dawkins. Back in training camp, McDermott made not of Dawkins' approach to the preseason and leadership.

"I think every year, if you have the right approach, as a coach, as a player, you come into training camp expecting to earn the right to be on the team," McDermott said. "Yes, there have been some players that have potentially been in one place, or started the year before. That said, I believe I've been around some really good football players who take that same approach. I learned that from Brian Dawkins back in Philadelphia over the years. He came to training camp and said 'hey, I've got to earn my seat on this football team.' If a guy like that can say it, and feel that way and have that type of attitude and approach, then we all can."