BEREA – Kicker Phil Dawson has been here before. For the third straight season he’s entering the final home game without a contract for the following season.
The uncertainty elicits emotions and questions about his future.
“I’ve spent a little time thinking about this week, but as I go down there Sunday it’s all business and got a job to do and going to try to help the team win the game,” he said Friday. “Obviously this week the uncertainty and not knowing is a distraction, and one that I gotta block out.”
Dawson said he can’t predict if he’ll be more emotional than usual Sunday vs. the Redskins, but he’s been through the drill.
“I truly thought 2010 was it,” he said. “That was when I really said all my goodbyes. I’ve had the opportunity the last two seasons to make sure everybody around here knows how much I appreciate and respect them and am thankful for them. In case it is the goodbye, I feel good about that part of it, don’t feel like I need to make some big farewell Sunday.”
Dawson is in his 14th year with the Browns and is the only player left from the expansion team of 1999. His kids were born and raised here and he became a fixture of the franchise.
The Browns used the franchise tag on him two straight years, but that’s not an option for next season. So a deal must be worked out with new CEO Joe Banner if Dawson’s going to return. Because he played under the franchise tag, negotiations can’t take place during the season.
“We’ll just see what happens,” Dawson said. “I’m fully confident that when the appropriate time of year comes around there’ll be discussions. It’s premature to get into all that at this point.
“No one would enjoy winning here more than I would.”
Dawson is the franchise’s leader in field goals (302), second in points (1,258) and third in games (212). He had a difficult time picking out his favorite moment at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“That Atlanta game where William Green broke that long run, that’s as loud as I’ve ever heard that place,” he said, referring to the 2002 finale. “That was the game that got us in the playoffs. So that was a pretty special moment. But there’ve been so many.”
Dawson considers Cleveland a second home.
“It’s been a privilege to be here so long and it’s afforded me an opportunity that a lot of guys in this league don’t get and that’s to develop a real close bond with a city and the fans,” he said. “This isn’t a farewell. This isn’t a goodbye. But that’s truly how I feel about this place whether this is it or whether I’m here another five years.”
PINKSTON FEELING GOOD
Left guard Jason Pinkston, 25, talked to reporters for the first time since being hospitalized Oct. 18 with a blood clot in his lung. He plans to resume his career next season.
“Feeling pretty good, can’t complain,” he said. “Working out, playing basketball, just waiting to get back to next year.
“I feel normal, like nothing ever happened.”
Pinkston wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t finish the Bengals game Oct. 14. He was rushed to the hospital a few days later and the blood clot was discovered. He said the doctors don’t know what caused it but ruled out long-term conditions.
“I could be one of the people it just happened or I got rolled up in the game or something like that,” he said. “All of my tests came back good. No cancers or anything like that, so I’m excited about that.”
He said he’ll remain on blood thinners for a few more months and will need additional tests to determine if he can return to football. He’s on injured reserve, so those won’t happen for a while.
“It was pretty scary,” said Pinkston, in his second season. “He said if I would’ve stayed in that game versus Cincinnati, if I would’ve gotten hit or taken a shot or something like that, I could’ve probably died then. So I’m all happy about it that I’m still here.”
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (knee) was listed as questionable on the injury report, and his status for Sunday is expected to be a gameday decision. He was limited for the third straight practice.
“He keeps on improving every day, so he’s much better today,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “We’ll get a chance to evaluate him (today) and talk to the doctors and make a decision.”
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Washington players told him Griffin took no first-team repetitions all week, doing only individual drills. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins is the backup and replaced Griffin on Sunday after he suffered a mild sprain of his right lateral collateral ligament.
“We feel good about the plan,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said of stopping Griffin. “We’ll see.
“RGIII has done a good job against everybody else that’s planned for him. I think our guys are looking forward to playing the Redskins regardless of who plays quarterback.”
IN GOOD HEALTH
For the second straight week the Browns listed no one as out, doubtful or questionable on the injury report. Nine players participated fully in practice Friday and were listed as probable.
** For the Redskins, linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) and tackle Trent Williams (thigh) were listed as questionable. Fletcher didn’t practice Wednesday and Friday and was limited Thursday, but he’s played 237 straight games, tied for most among active players with Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber.
Running back Alfred Morris was limited Friday with an illness. He was listed as probable.
Rookie tight end Brad Smelley, a seventh-round pick out of Alabama, didn’t expect the call he received Monday afternoon. It was general manager Tom Heckert informing him he’d been promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
“I was eating lunch with my family, my mom, brother and sister-in-law,” Smelley said. “I was extremely excited. It’s something I’ve been waiting on all year and working towards.
“So it’s a big relief. But this is just a starting point, just keep working every day like I’ve been working.”
Smelley said his practice week wasn’t any different this week. He took reps with the scout team and stayed after practice to throw with backup quarterback Colt McCoy.
“I’m trying to perfect my craft,” he said. “I feel I’ve had a good season of being on the practice squad and showing them my skills and what I can do.”
Smelley is third on the depth chart behind Benjamin Watson and Jordan Cameron. Alex Smith also splits time between fullback and tight end.
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