Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dawson Honored by Former Browns Kicker, Pro Football Writers' Association

Marty Gitlin

May 22, 2008

The Browns placekicker was recognized by Browns Backers earlier this week, but the biggest award may have been the words of a great Browns placekicker from the past...

Browns placekicker Phil Dawson was holding court with the media Monday evening before the Akron Browns Backers Banquet at Tangier’s restaurant.

Suddenly, a man with outstretched arm approached Dawson. It was Don Cockroft, who booted for Browns teams from another generation. They shook hands, and then Cockroft, one of the last of the old-style straight-ahead kickers, congratulated Dawson on his 2007 season.

Cockroft was particularly impressed with Dawson’s two field goals, including a 49-yarder, in windy, Arctic conditions in an 8-0 victory over Buffalo at Cleveland Browns Stadium last December. One could recognize that Dawson was honored by Cockroft’s praise.

It wouldn’t be the first time Dawson was honored on this night. Moments later he received the “Good Guy” Award from the Cleveland chapter of the Pro Football Writer’s Association.

Dawson expressed greater appreciation that the accolade had nothing to do with his on-field performance because it placed a positive spotlight on himself as a man rather than as a player.

“When the dust settles on your career,” he said, “I don’t know if you’re remembered as much for what you did as how you went about doing it.”

Dawson, who has played with the Browns since they returned to Cleveland in 1999 and has scored at least 100 points in four of the last six years, told the media that the team’s success in 2007 rejuvenated his career.

Dawson and quarterback Derek Anderson, who won the 2007 Most Valuable Player award from the PFWA, were among several Browns representatives honored Monday night. The 2007 Legends Inductees were defensive lineman Bill Glass (1962-68), Cockroft (1968-80) and running back Kevin Mack (1985-93).

Cockroft, who has crafted a book about the 1980 “Kardiac Kids” season in which the Browns finished 11-5 and lost a heartbreaker to Oakland in the first round of the playoffs, spoke touchingly about that experience.

“We had a chemistry that year unlike anything we’d ever known,” Cockroft told the assembled audience.

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