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Monday, October 11, 2010

Dawson ties Groza with 234 field goals




Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson pumps his fist after hitting a 19-yard field goal in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Oct. 10, 2010, in Cleveland, Ohio. The kick was the 234th of Dawson's career in Cleveland, tying him with Hall of Famer Lou Groza for the most in Browns history.

By Stephanie Storm, Nate Ulrich and Marla Ridenour

October 11, 2010

Kicker shares honor with snapper Pontbriand

CLEVELAND: It was Phil Dawson's moment, but he wanted to share the spotlight.

Standing in front of his locker after the Browns' 20-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Dawson talked about his third-quarter, 19-yard field goal that tied him with Browns Hall of Famer Lou Groza for the most field goals in franchise history with 234.

''I tried all week to anticipate what that moment would be like,'' Dawson said.
''Fortunately during the game, it felt like just another kick — which is what I was hoping it would feel like. . . . Uncharacteristically, though, I am going to take some time tonight to reflect and try to let it soak in.''

Instead of basking in the glory by himself, Dawson turned his attention to long snapper Ryan Pontbriand. Dawson gave Pontbriand a personalized football that included a game picture of the latter in thanks for his steadying presence over the years.

''This guy has been with me for eight years,'' Dawson said, handing a surprised Pontbriand the special football. ''He plays a position that's not respected that much. But he's a Pro Bowler, the best I've ever seen. I did a little research and no snapper has been a part of more successful field goals made in Browns history than Pont. Since there are no records for him to break, he's a big part of this one. It means a great deal to share this with him.''

With that, Dawson and Pontbriand hugged.

''It means the world to me,'' Pontbriand said. ''It seems like it's flown by, all these kicks. But this is going in my entryway. You're going to have to see this [every time you] come in my house.''

Tying the record, however, was ultimately bittersweet for Dawson. He said he's honored to match a feat of the legendary Groza, whom Dawson met during Browns training camp in 1999 before Groza died a year later. Still, the Browns fell to 1-4.

''I have a lot of mixed emotions,'' Dawson said. ''I would trade it for a win.''

Dawson's field goal was set up by a turnover. Browns linebacker Scott Fujita forced a fumble when he sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Browns defensive end Kenyon Coleman recovered it at the Falcons' 25-yard line. Six plays later, Dawson reached a milestone following quarterback Jake Delhomme's fumbled snap on third-and-goal at the Falcons' 2.

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