Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson isn’t one for personal attention or accolades.
He just wants to go out on the field and kick when his number is called – wind, snow, rain or shine.
But there is one thing that Dawson would like to personally accomplish before he puts the tees away and hangs up the cleats – make a Pro Bowl.
“With a family of 5, any free vacation you can go on, it’s tremendous and that would save me some coin for the rest of the offseason,” Dawson said with a laugh. “That’s obviously something I’d like to experience. It’s been a goal of mine for a long time. There’s been some years in the past that I thought I might have a chance and it just didn’t happen.”
Through 11 games this season, Dawson hasn’t missed a kick.
He’s hit all 21 field goals and 20 PATs but is nowhere to be seen amongst the favorites to make this year’s AFC team.
“This is another one of those years [I hope to make it] so we’ll see how it goes,” Dawson said. “At the end of the day, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be disappointed. But if the guys in the locker room have respect for what I did for them, I’m good with that.”
He’s not just kicking chip shots either.
Dawson is splitting the sticks from distance regularly – 5-5 from 40-49 yards and 5-5 from 50+ to lead the NFL this season.
“I think he’s been a Pro Bowl quality kicker for a very long time,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for who he is and what he is as a player. I’m really glad he kicks for us. I think all that type of stuff, all those accolades, he’s very deserving of that. I’m not going to sit here and campaign for him, but I do really appreciate what he does for our team.”
Dawson tied his own team record of making his last 27 consecutive field goal attempts with a pair of kicks in last week’s 20-14 win over the Steelers but it hasn’t been enough for him to get any national attention.
“They announced [Wednesday] the top 5 fan vote recipients so apparently the campaign isn’t going very well,” Dawson joked.
He might need a new campaign manager.
“I heard Reggie [Hodges] is getting involved on it,” Dawson said. “So he may have a vested interest in seeing that happen but we’ll see.”
Hodges, who also holds on kicks for Dawson, has taken to Twitter to drum up support by tweeting daily reminding fans to vote for Phil.
“CLEVELAND! @phil_dawson_4 isn’t even in the top 5 in the fan votes 😒 Y’all voted Hillis to Madden cover! Get a real Brown to the Pro-Bowl!!,” Hodges tweeted.
“I don’t know what all Reggie’s been doing but I know he’s going to work,” Dawson said when told of the Twitter campaign. “That’s pretty good.”
Dawson is also a victim of another losing season in Cleveland.
The Browns are 3-8 and pretty much irrelevant in the NFL which makes it even harder for Dawson to receive the recognition that he deserves.
“I don’t know what the reason is,” Dawson said. “If I go out Sunday and go 0-for-4 Sunday this is a moot point anyway, so my focus is to go out and try to do my job.”
Dawson is second on the Browns’ all time scoring list and needs 111 points to break Lou Groza’s all-time scoring record.
He is also 6 games shy of tying Groza for second place on the most games played as a Brown list. He needs 12 to tie Clay Matthews’ record of 232 games played but his contract is up at the end of the season.
In his 14th season with the Browns, Dawson has made 84.1 percent of his kicks – 6th best in NFL history and tops in team history.
“I know the feedback that I get from other kickers and coaches every week and it’s very positive,” Dawson said. “That’s rewarding when the people who actually are on the field and you’re competitors and those types of things, when they show respect that makes you feel good.”
Kicking so well for 14 years in Cleveland weather and on Browns teams that lose every year, not only does Dawson deserve at least 1 pro bowl nod, he should get a medal, his jersey retired and his name in the Ring of Honor.
It’s the least the Browns could do since they decided not to give him a multi-year contract in each of the previous 2 off-seasons.