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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Phil Dawson hoping to kick beyond Lou Groza's record





June 6, 2012

By Tom Reed, The Plain Dealer

BEREA, Ohio -- Phil Dawson skipped the first six voluntary organized team activities of the spring, but returned for mandatory minicamp Tuesday and made it clear he wants to kick for no other organization.

Dawson, a franchise fixture since its 1999 rebirth, said he hopes to finish his career with the Browns and take aim at Lou Groza's 45-year-old team record for points.

"I'd like to, I really would," said the 14-year veteran when asked if he intends to make Cleveland his final stop. "I'm not thinking about my career being over at this point, but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go play somewhere else.

"We'll see what happens. Like I've told you guys before, I'm not very good at predicting the future, but I'm just gonna go to work like I always do and hope that things get worked out."

The Browns have expressed a desire to sign the 37-year-old to a long-term deal, but instead tagged him as a "franchise player" for the second straight season. He's set to earn $3.8 million a season after converting 24 of 29 field-goal attempts, including an NFL-tying best seven from 50-plus yards.

As if he needed to demonstrate his worth, Dawson just missed a 70-yarder in his first practice. "I undercut it a bit," he said.

His future with the Browns has been uncertain in recent years to the point where he sold his suburban home and moved his family back to Austin, Texas after the 2010 season. His wife and three children made visits to Cleveland last year, and might need to do it for a couple more seasons if he expects to eclipse Groza's mark of 1,349 points.

Dawson, the team's all-time leader in field goals (276), has 1,155 points.

"That was a goal I set in 1999 when Danny Kight and Chris Boniol were out here competing against me in training camp," Dawson said of the team record. "If I had admitted back then that that was one of my goals, you guys would have laughed me out of town and I wouldn't have blamed you."

Dawson said he was delivering no statement by missing the OTAs. He has skipped several others in the past.

"I have my reasons, which I'll keep to myself, but I can assure ya'll they're not headline worthy," he said. Asked about potentially signing a long-term deal, Dawson added: "there's a time and place for everything. ... It just hasn't happened yet."

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