Phil Dawson spent his final day in the NFL the right way — as a Cleveland Brown.
Dawson, who spent 14 seasons as the team’s kicker and 20 overall in the NFL, officially called it a career on Friday, signing a one-day contract with the Browns before riding off into the sunset. He spent last year with the Arizona Cardinals and previously played with the 49ers.
Dawson spoke from Browns training camp on Friday to officially put a stamp on his career.
“It’s good to be home,” Dawson opened with. “There haven’t been many days over the last six years since I left that I didn’t think about coming back to Cleveland. To have the opportunity to do it today is not only special for me, but my entire family as well.”
While he was with other franchises for the latter part of his career, Dawson stressed his connection to Cleveland never waned.
“The connection I had and still have to the city in Cleveland is the most cherished accomplishment of my career,” Dawson said. “There’s no greater sports town in America than Cleveland. There are no greater fans in football anywhere. And like I said when I was here, and I now still believe it to be true: there will be no greater place on the planet to be when the Lombardi Trophy goes down Euclid Avenue. And you can bet your last dollar I’ll be there to celebrate with everyone.”
Phil Dawson’s Record-Setting Browns Career
Signed by the Browns in 1999, Dawson won the placekicking job during training camp and remained with the team through the 2012 season.
Here are some of the records he holds with the team:
- Most career field goals (305)
- Highest career field goal percentage (84.0)
- Most field goals in a season (30 in 2008)
- Highest field goal percentage in a season (93.5 in 2012)
- Feld goals in a game (six on Nov. 5, 2006)
- Most consecutive field goals made (29)
- Most consecutive games with a field goal (23).
He scored 1,271 points with Cleveland, which is the second most by a Brown, and his 215 games are the third-most by a Browns player.
One of his more memorable games was when he nailed a pair of snowy field goals as the Browns grinded out an 8-0 win in 2007.
Reaction to Phil Dawson’s Retirement
When the news came out that Dawson would be returning to Cleveland to retire a Brown, fans, players and ownership welcomed him back with open arms.
“We are thrilled that Phil Dawson wanted to come back and retire as a Cleveland Brown,” Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. “He epitomizes the characteristics that we look for in our players – hardworking, professional, consistent and he was a pillar in the community. He is a great example for all current and future Browns.”
Joe Thomas, a 10-time Pro Bowler and all-time Brown, was a former teammate of Dawson and heaped praise on Dawson following the announcement.
“Phil Dawson is synonymous with some of my favorite moments as a Cleveland Brown. From him hitting the stanchion on the goalpost in Baltimore to the Snow Bowl game in Cleveland where he made two field goals in 40 mph winds and blizzard conditions,” Thomas told the Browns official site. “He was the definition of a professional. I always admired the way he went about his business. He is a true class act and a great teammate, friend and family man.”