After completing his 13th season with the team last fall, Dawson received the Browns’ “franchise” tag. As the “franchise” player, Dawson will receive the average of the highest-paid kickers in the NFL on the one-year agreement. It was the second straight offseason in which the Browns franchised Dawson.
“It’s the same song, different verse kind of thing,” Dawson said. “It was so much different from last year. Last year was the lockout and everything was strange. This was a little more normal. Getting tagged two years in a row doesn’t happen often. I didn’t really know what to think, but as time has gone by and I’ve been away from everything, it’s been good.”
Prior to Tuesday’s walk-through and practice, Dawson had not been in Berea with his teammates. The former University of Texas Longhorn was back in Austin with his wife, Shannon, and their three children, sons Dru and Beau, and daughter, Sophiann.
“It’s been a great offseason,” Dawson said. “Two things about this offseason, first of all, it’s the first one I’ve been in Texas for a long time and I forgot how much I missed home. That was No. 1 and No. 2, I forgot how much being away reenergizes me, so that when I come back, I’m ready to rock and roll. I’m truly excited to be here and it’s fun to get some live reps and see where I’m at. Today was fun.”
Last fall, Dawson moved into second place on the Browns’ career scoring list.
He passed Browns Legend Don Cockroft (1968-80) for second and trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer, the late Lou Groza, for first all-time. Dawson currently has 1,155 points, while Groza scored 1,349 in two stints with the Browns (1950-59, 1961-67).
Dawson said Tuesday that it would take him approximately 2.5 more years to break Groza’s all-time mark.
“That was the goal I set in 1999 when Danny Kight and Chris Boniol were out here competing with me in training camp,” Dawson said. “If I had admitted it back then, you guys (the media) would’ve laughed me out of town and I wouldn’t have blamed you. A lot of work, a lot of years, a lot of effort has taken place since then and to even be remotely on the horizon to being close to that is a pretty neat thing.”
Remaining in Cleveland for the rest of his career would be another neat thing, according to Dawson.
“I’d like to (stay), I really would,” Dawson said. “I’m not thinking about my career being over at this point, but it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to go play somewhere else. We’ll see what happens. I’m not very good at predicting the future, but I’m just going to go to work like I always do and hope things get worked out.”