Phil Dawson has announced his retirement from the NFL. He will sign a contract to retire as a Cleveland Brown. "To have the opportunity to come back home and retire with the organization and the city that I love is incredibly meaningful to me," said Dawson. "It only seems right to have the opportunity to do this with the fans that have been so good to me and my family."
Former Browns Special Teams Coordinator (2011-17) and current Bears Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor:
"He's obviously one of the all-time great Browns. I loved his professionalism and the big-game mentality that he always had. Just a true professional both on and off the field. I'm so happy for him. There's a reason we called him 'Iron Leg' -- the guy could kick forever and never miss. He's the best."
Former Browns Special Teams Coordinator (2001-06) and current Ravens Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg:
"When I arrived in Cleveland in 2001, the thing that struck me most about Phil Dawson was his passion to improve as a football player. We worked together to perfect his technique through practice, film study and open dialogue. He helped me as much as I helped him. His knowledge of special teams – not just kicking – and his situational awareness, was second to none.
"It is my belief that Phil Dawson is one of the greatest kickers this league has ever seen, and one of the best Cleveland Browns players in the history of the franchise. For him to become one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, while playing in some of the most adverse field and weather conditions is a testament to his skill, toughness and work ethic. He was also a pioneer in implementing specialty kickoffs; this a largely unknown and underrated part of his game.
"During our time together and in subsequent years, I have been a witness to Phil in action as a Hall of Fame husband and father. With his wonderfully talented wife, Shannon, and their three beautiful children Dru, Beau and Sophiann, they truly are a fabulous family.
"This is a great man. He has enriched my life. I am blessed to call him 'friend.'"
Former Browns Head Coach (2009-10) Eric Mangini:
"Phil Dawson is the type of player every organization hopes to find, every coach hopes to work with and every parent hopes their children model themselves after. Each season he was the example of consistency as a player, teammate and person. His drive to constantly find a way to improve personally was only overshadowed by his selflessness and willingness to help his teammates and team. It is rare for the kicker to have a notebook that rivaled the quarterback, but Phil wanted to understand all aspects of his profession and be the most complete player possible. It is fitting that Phil scored the first points for the returning Browns because he is the type of player Browns fans deserve to cheer for. I am thankful and proud to have had a chance to be his coach, and am excited about the amazing things he will do after football."
Former Browns Pro Bowl LT Joe Thomas:
"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 mile winds and blizzard conditions. 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."
Former Browns Head Coach (2005-08) and current Texans Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel:
"Congratulations to Phil Dawson on an outstanding 21-year career in the NFL. Phil was an exceptional player to coach, a tremendous teammate and an even better man, both on and off the field. He was a tireless worker who had amazing success in this league while also making a positive impact on everyone he was around. I wish him, his wife Shannon, and their three kids all the best moving forward into the next stage of their lives."
Former Browns QB Tim Couch:
"Phil and I came in together in 1999. He was a phenomenal teammate and a true pro. My rookie year, he won the Steelers game for us on a last-second field goal as time expired. I knew at that point that if the game was on the line, and we had the ball and needed a field goal to win it, if I could just get Phil in range, he was going to be automatic. He was as clutch as they come. He made so many pressure kicks and won a bunch of games for us. It was an honor to call him a teammate for five seasons."
Former Browns Head Coach (2011-12) and current Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur:
"Phil Dawson was a pro. I appreciated everything about how he approached the game. He was more than just an outstanding kicker, he was an outstanding football player, and an even better person."
Former Browns Special Teams Coordinator (2009-10) and current Texans Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely:
"Phil Dawson was the definition of a professional. Throughout his career, Phil was a hard worker that was always trying to improve at his craft. He was a great teammate and extremely coachable. I've been incredibly fortunate to have coached some of the best kickers in the history of the NFL, and Phil is on that list."
Former Browns Special Teams Coordinator (1999) and current Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt:
"I remember the first time I met Phil was when he came to the Browns as an undrafted rookie trying to make the spot on the expansion team as a kicker. What a long way he has come. He showed in that time how disciplined, how mentally strong he was and how much he worked at his craft. It is not ever easy to kick in Cleveland and he was so proficient at that and did it for so long. I have nothing but great respect for him and how his career has progressed. To me, he is one of the best kickers ever in the history of the league and that is a tremendous tribute to his work ethic and how he handled his business."
Former Browns Pro Bowl Returner Josh Cribbs:
"My nickname for Phil was 'Old Faithful.' We never had to look and worry about if he was going to make it. When it counted, he always came through. He literally won games for us and many times was the only opportunity for us to score. When our offense struggled, me and Phil had a pact. I would get us close enough and he would knock it down."
Former Browns P Dave Zastudil:
"Phil Dawson is a name that will forever be mentioned with the Cleveland Browns legends. He taught me not only how to be a better player, but more importantly how to be a better person. Cheers to you, Phil."