Since the return of the Cleveland Browns in 1999, no player has been more reliable than 14 year veteran kicker Phil Dawson. The newest regime has made it pretty clear that they parting ways with Dawson. While the final game of the season may have been Dawson’s last in a Browns uniform, No. 4 will always have a place in these fans’ hearts. Here is a tribute to the man, the myth, the legend, “Ole’ Reliable” Dawson.
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Browns in 1999, few know that Dawson was a member of both the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots‘ practice squad. Dawson never appeared in a regular season game and therefore his rookie year was considered 1999. The Texas native is and soon-to-be the last remaining player from the Browns original inaugural team in 1999.
Holding the team record for consecutive field goals made in a row (29), Dawson is the seventh most accurate kicker in the NFL today. The 14 year veteran has a career accuracy of 84% hitting 305 of 363 field goal attempts. Although he did make a 59 yarder in a pre season game, Dawson has a career long of 56. That kick came against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football and proved to be the game winning field goal.
In 1999, you may remember a fake field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals where Dawson scored his only touchdown in his career. The Browns lost that game 18-17. Skipping ahead 11 years, Dawson would etch his place in team history by tying Browns’ legend Lou Groza when he booted his 234th field goal make. The humble Dawson has since become the franchise leader in career field goals, consecutive makes, and most field goals made in a single game with six. In 2012, Dawson was 100% from fifty yards or more, nailing seven field goals.
When we are telling are grandchildren about the game of football and what made it so special, it will be players like Dawson that will be in the conversation. So, on behalf of all of Browns Nation, we say thank you Phil for your generosity in the community, thank you for your toughness both physically and mentally, thank you for being a positive face on this historic franchise when others were not, thank you for being the greatest “bad weather” kicker to ever play the game, and most importantly, thank you for putting on that symbolic orange helmet every day and being a Cleveland Brown.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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