On Sunday, Cleveland Browns kicker
When talking about the experience of making his first Pro Bowl team and being the first Browns kicker ever in the all-star game, Dawson said there was “a combination of a lot of good emotions.”
“Obviously, I’m very humbled to be around the guys that I’m surrounded by, and proud to represent my organization, my team, my teammates, the fans that made this all possible through the fan vote,” Dawson said. “I’m just excited to get out there and participate in something that I’ve dreamed so long about. To finally get a chance to be here is just awesome.”
Dawson earned the Pro Bowl spot by converting 29 of his 31 field goal attempts, including a perfect mark of 13 of 13 from at least 40 yards and seven for seven from 50 or more yards.
As for kicking in the Pro Bowl, Dawson has set a simple goal for himself.
“I just want to make them,” Dawson said. “If it’s a long one, I’ll give it a good try, and if it’s a short one, I’ll try to get it in there. I just want to help my team, and there’s a little at stake for the winning team, so hopefully, we can come out on top.”
Having spent the week practicing with the AFC all-stars, Dawson said the experience has come with many surprises.
“It’s kind of nice to be somewhere where I’m the new guy and I really don’t know what’s going on,” Dawson said. “It’s been fun to just kind of anticipate what’s next, and it’s just been one good surprise after another. It’ll all culminate with a fun game on Sunday.
“I don’t know what to expect. I’m kind of the rookie in all of this and don’t know how it goes. I would suspect I’ll get in my routine and kind of the habits of how I usually am on game day. It will be somewhat similar to others I’ve been in. I’m sure I’m going to want to get out there, compete and do the best I can to represent Cleveland well. I’ll put in a good day’s work and have fun when it’s all said and done.”
Away from the game, Dawson is focused on his family. Wanting to share this experience with those closest to him, Dawson has been joined by his father, wife, Shannon, sons, Dru and Beau, and daughter, Sophiann, in Hawaii.
“I’ve got the whole crew out here,” Dawson said with a laugh. “They’re by the pool every day. I’ve got to put a little work in, not much, but I’m off to work and they’re at the pool. We’re just having a great time, and it’s a great family memory. I get home and just want to hang out with the kids by the pool. I’ll probably save the golf till I get back to Austin (Texas) and they’re in school so I don’t miss out on any family time.
“We’re going to do a few things. My dad and my oldest son really enjoy history together, and so, to get to take them to Pearl Harbor, which we’re planning on doing, is going to be a pretty neat deal. I think that will probably be our main adventure, but who knows what else we might do.”
In addition to his family, Dawson is joined by two Browns teammates, kick returner
“Phil had told me a couple years back that he’d be able to tell his kids one day that he played with Josh Cribbs. I feel the same way toward him,” Cribbs said. “This Pro Bowl for him is well overdue. I feel like he’s supposed to have been here several times, and for me to be able to share this with him is remarkable. I’ve been playing with him for eight years now, and he’s been a mentor in the game for me. I had dinner with him and his family (Wednesday) night and just to see him soak it up and to finally be able to just sit back and know that he accomplished a job well done, I’m just excited for him.”
Thomas added, “Phil’s like a kid in a candy store out here. He’s so excited. It’s fun to see things for the first time through his eyes.”
Dawson appreciates the support from Cribbs and Thomas.
“Those are two guys I’ve obviously shared a lot of time with, and have a tremendous amount of respect for,” Dawson said. “To get to be in Hawaii and celebrate this week with them makes it all the more special.”