Browns’ placekicker wants to make Pro Bowl

Published 2:24 am Friday, December 5, 2008

Phil Dawson hasn’t been to Hawaii since his honeymoon. He’d like to take his wife back in February to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

And maybe play in his first Pro Bowl.

‘‘It could be two trips in one,’’ Dawson said with a smile Thursday as he laced up his spikes before practice. ‘‘I could even play it off as, ’Honey, I’m taking you back to where it all started, and if you don’t mind, I’m going to kick a few balls while we’re here.’’’

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Shannon Dawson wouldn’t mind mixing some sun and fun with football.

Overlooked for years, Dawson may deserve a Pro Bowl spot.

Cleveland’s rock-steady kicker has been one of the few bright spots this season for the dismal Browns (4-8), who have failed to live up to high expectations. But while his teammates commit penalties, drop passes and miss tackles, Dawson, as always, has been dependable, exact and consistent.

Just like his kicks.

The lone player left from the Browns’ 1999 expansion team, Dawson has converted 26 of 30 field-goal attempts and made three of the longest kicks of his 10-year career, including a game-winning 56-yarder to beat Buffalo on Nov. 17. Dawson recently made 13 straight field goals — three over 50 yards — and his next make will match his career high (27) for a season.

Only Lou Groza and Don Cockroft have scored more career points for Cleveland than Dawson, who also scored the first rushing touchdown for the new Browns on a fake field goal in 1999.

However, one thing has remains out of Dawson’s range: a Pro Bowl.

‘‘It’s a career goal of mine,’’ Dawson said. ‘‘Sometimes you wonder if people notice what you do. Unfortunately, I’ve been on a losing team eight of the last 10 years. There’s been probably about three seasons sprinkled in there where I thought I had a chance. Not to take anything from the guys who were named because the AFC is loaded with great kickers, but I feel pretty good about what I’ve been able to do in the conditions I find myself in.’’

Ah, the conditions.

In Cleveland’s lakefront stadium, the weather in November and December can be unbearable and unpredictable. With swirling, gusting winds, lake-effect snow, freezing temperatures, rain, ice and sleet, it’s no place for a picnic.