Dawson, Thomas make Pro Bowl roster

Posted Dec 26, 2012

Kicker Phil Dawson and left tackle Joe Thomas have been selected to participate in the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson and left tackle Joe Thomas have been named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster. The NFL made the official announcements on Wednesday evening and both players will be in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the Jan. 27 game at Aloha Stadium.

For Dawson, a 14-year veteran, it will be his first Pro Bowl appearance and comes after he extended his career-best and Browns record for consecutive field goals made to 29 earlier in the season. Dawson has converted 28 of his 29 attempts this season, including all six of his field goals from at least 50 yards. He went three-for-three from at least 50 yards against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 27.

“It’s been such a special season in a lot of ways,” Dawson said. “To have it culminate with this is pretty over the top. It means a tremendous amount to me, given the amount of respect I have for the other kickers in the league.

“We wanted to watch the show with my kids and I had fairly good idea of what was going on, but it was a pretty priceless moment when we saw the name pop up on the screen. My kids went nuts; my wife went nuts. That makes these 15 years of waiting worth it.”

Dawson appreciated the support from punter Reggie Hodges, who helped jumpstart the fans’ voting for the veteran kicker.

“It’s tough sometimes to make friends in this business,” Dawson said. “Guys come and go and everyone’s out to take care of themselves. To have a friend that’s a teammate like Reggie go out of his way to mobilize the fan base and just show that he cared about me and knew this was a goal of mine, that means a tremendous amount. I’m always going to remember Reggie’s role in this and be really appreciative of it.”

Since the start of the 2011 season, Dawson is tied for an NFL-best with 13 field goals made from at least 50 yards. Earlier this year, Dawson made his 300th career field goal. He has converted 304 of 361 attempts in his career and his 84.2 percentage is the best among those kickers with at least 300 made field goals.

“There’s always people that get snubbed that you feel deserve it,” Thomas said. “Phil’s been one of those guys in the past. Obviously, he’s had a phenomenal year, one miss and that was a block. You can’t play any better as a kicker, so he’s definitely deserving.”

Thomas will make his sixth consecutive appearance in the Pro Bowl this year. He has started every game and taken each snap on the Browns’ offensive line since being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Thomas has played in 95 consecutive games and anchored an offensive line that has surrendered only 32 sacks this season.

With this all-star game appearance, Thomas will join running back Leroy Kelly, Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Gene Hickerson and tackle Dick Schafrath in a third-place tie for the most Pro Bowl appearances in franchise history.

“I feel like I’m getting better every year and my best is still yet to come,” Thomas said. “I still feel like I’ve got more in the tank. Hopefully, next year will be better than this year and I’ll keep growing in that pattern. Every year, my goal is to play better than the year before and I definitely think that happened this year.”

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, center Alex Mack and special teams/kick return specialist Joshua Cribbs were all named first alternates for the Pro Bowl.

Earlier this year, Jackson was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after making nine tackles, forcing one fumble, recovering another and defending one pass in a 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 25. He leads the team with 114 total tackles and is fourth on the Browns with 3.5 quarterback sacks. Jackson has also returned an interception for a touchdown this year.

Cribbs has returned 41 kickoffs for 1,136 yards, an average of 27.7 yards per runback. He has also totaled 450 yards on 37 punt returns. In coverage, Cribbs has made nine special teams tackles, tied for the third-most on the team.

Earlier this year, Cribbs passed Desmond Howard for sixth on the NFL’s all-time return yards list. His 9,973 kickoff return yards are the most for any player with one team in league history.

Along with Thomas, Mack has played every offensive snap this season. Mack has started 63 straight games since joining the Browns in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

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