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Browns Kicker Phil Dawson Shows Up To Minicamp and His Interview Highlights

Daniel WolfSenior Writer IJune 10, 2010

ORCHARD PARK - NOVEMBER 17:  Kicker Phil Dawson #4of the Cleveland Browns kicks a field goal during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 17, 2008 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson is the only remaining member of the expansion 1999 Browns team, after signing with them as an undrafted free agent out of Texas.

Easily one of the best cold weather kickers, Dawson has made kicks in all kinds of weather that Lake Erie can throw at Cleveland Browns Stadium, including a historic 49-yard field goal on December 16, 2007 against the Buffalo Bills in a blizzard that was reported as a "real-life snow globe inside the stadium."

Dawson has told the Browns and the media that he wants more money and a long-term contract to close out the rest of his career and retire in the orange and brown, but the Browns have not listened during the last two years.

Boycotting the offseason program and training camp in 2009, Dawson has also boycotted the offseason program so far this year until his arrival at the Browns training facility for the start of the June 10 mandatory minicamp.

His appearance may be due to several reasons, including the fact that fellow kicker, Scott Suisham, has been having many issues kicking field goals, according to Cleveland.com.

In an interview with a Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer , Dawson was candid on some topics but avoided any contract talk.

"Kicking in Cleveland gives you grey hair, but keeps you young," said Dawson, who was referring to the crazy amount of wind and weather that can really disturb any and all kicks out on Lake Erie.

Dawson also told reporters that missing some time in 2009 before the season (due to his boycotting of training camp) set him back and really affected him toward the end of the 2009 season.

He is in minicamp to prevent that from occurring once again at the end of the 2010 season.

One of the big mountains that Dawson has had to climb over the year's is that all the experts and analysts have critically attack him regarding his ability to have deep kickoffs.

"I'll say it loud and clear and I've caught a lot of heat through the years for kickoffs, but I think that's my strength," said Dawson to Cleveland.com. "The amount of different kicks that we do, and the conditions we do it in, I feel good about how I am kicking off. And I'm going to continue to work hard to get even better at that."

A good kickoff is very important to preventing the opposing team from getting good field position, but a solid coverage unit is also needed to help that cause, and the Browns definitely have one of the best special team units in the NFL and were ranked No. 1 overall for the 2009 season.

Still, Dawson thinks that proving himself since a new regime is in place once again in Cleveland is nothing more than the norm, since he has seen all regimes come and go and he has been the constant.

"Regardless of if there is a new regime or not, you have to prove yourself every year," said Dawson. "Especially in my position because there is only 32 of them."

"You have to prove yourself each and every day and that has been my mentality my whole career and that's why an undrafted kid that no one expected much out of is standing here today."

One thing that is certain is Dawson is one of the fan favorites and part of the heart and soul that really has made up this Cleveland Browns team since its expansion year.

Losing him before he is ready to retire should be the last thing owner Randy Lerner or anyone else in the front office should every want for this team.

Very few kickers can kick in Cleveland's weather, especially once it turns for the worse come mid-November, and Dawson is the key to the team winning those tough and cold games in 2010 and beyondโ€”until he hangs up his cleats and calls it quits.

(Also posted on Dawg Scooper: THE Cleveland Browns Blog)

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