BEREA - Now that it appears as if kicker Phil Dawson might end his career with the Browns, he figures he might as well make the most of it.
A good starting point would be to break a team record that once seemed as solid as Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak - Lou Groza's career scoring record of 1,349 points.
Don't think that Dawson doesn't know how long it might take for him to reach Groza's record. He has it figured out almost to the day it could happen.
The Associated Press
Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson walks to the locker room after practice at the team’s headquarters in Berea on Tuesday.
"Two-and-a-half years," he said Tuesday after completing a minicamp practice. "That was a goal I set in 1999 when Danny Kyte and Chris Boniel were out here competing against me in training camp. If I had admitted back then that that was one of my goals, you guys would have 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. To be even remotely on the horizon to being close to that is a pretty neat thing."
The Browns and Dawson have been going back and forth in contract talks the last two years. Dawson has yet to receive the long-term deal he desires, but he's been rewarded financially with significant raises when the team designated him as its franchise player.
The front office might have a problem giving a long-term contract to a 37-year-old kicker. That has to baffle Dawson, who's inarguably the team's most consistent player since its return to the NFL in 1999.
Asked why a long-term contract hasn't been done, Dawson said, "My thought exactly. There's a time and place for everything. I'm a firm believer in that. It just hasn't happened yet."
Dawson skipped all offseason training activity (OTA) practices last year in a contract dispute, but he attended the mandatory minicamp. He's remained at his offseason home in Austin, Texas during OTAs this year for personal reasons.
While disappointed he doesn't have a contract beyond next season, Dawson has become okay with the fact he might play with the Browns until he retires.
"I'd like to," he said. "I really would. I'm not thinking about my career being over at this point, but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to play somewhere else. I said before that I'm not very good at predicting the future. I'm going to go to work like I always do and hope that things get worked out."
Players aren't normally big fans of offseason practices, but Dawson seemed genuinely delighted to be on the field Tuesday. He missed the mark a few times, but he took advantage of a strong supporting wind to make several from long range.
Dawson went to the length of 70 yards out on one attempt. He had the direction, but the wind-aided kick fell about 5 yards short of the goal post.
"There were two things about this offseason," he said. "It's the first one that I've been in Texas in a long time, and I forgot how much I missed home. Number two is I forgot how much being away re-energizes me so when I come back it's ready to rock and roll. I'm excited to be here and get some live reps and see where I'm at."
If Tuesday is an accurate indicator, the Browns will be set at the kicking position for another year.