Still kickin': Browns tag kicker Phil Dawson

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Phil Dawson's career is still kickin' with the Browns.

The dependable Dawson, who has been with Cleveland since its 1999 expansion season, will spend another year with the club after the Browns decided to use their franchise tag on the 37-year-old.

A team spokesman confirmed the team's plans to use the tag on Friday.

It's the second straight year the Browns have franchised Dawson, who made $3.25 million last season and will make 20 percent more -- roughly $3.8 million -- next season, his 14th in a logo-less orange helmet. If they hadn't used the tag on Dawson he would have become an unrestricted free agent later this month.

The Browns may still try to sign the steady Dawson to a long-term contract. He's coming off one of his best seasons, making 24 of 29 field-goal attempts and seven from beyond 50 yards.

Dawson has said he's open to finishing his career with the Browns. Through their few highs and many lows over more than a decade, Dawson has been the one thing Cleveland can count on. He's the Browns' career leader in field goals and second to Hall of Famer Lou Groza in scoring.

Believing he had played his final game with the Browns in 2010, Dawson said his goodbyes and sold his home in the Cleveland area before the team surprised him by using its franchise tag on him for the first time. Last year was tough on him personally because his wife and sons stayed in Texas while he played for the Browns. It didn't affect his performance, though, as Dawson had another solid season.