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Browns kicker Phil Dawson retires after 21 years

Longtime kicker Phil Dawson is hanging up his cleats.

The 21-year NFL veteran who spent the majority of his career with the Cleveland Browns is retiring, the team announced Thursday. Dawson will sign a contract with the organization to signify the moment.

"To have the opportunity to come back home and retire with the organization and the city that I love is incredibly meaningful to me," Dawson said in a statement. "It only seems right to have the opportunity to do this with the fans that have been so good to me and my family."

Dawson, 44, signed with the Browns in 1999 and won the placekicking job in training camp. He held onto that post for the next 14 years. He also played four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and the past two with the Arizona Cardinals. But it was in Cleveland where Dawson made his biggest mark, twice earning second-team All-Pro honors and appearing in a Pro Bowl. That remains the lone Pro Bowl appearance for a Browns kicker.

Among Dawson's many team records: career field goals and field goal percentage, field goals in a season and game, most consecutive field goals made and most consecutive games with a field goal.

"We are thrilled that Phil Dawson wanted to come back and retire as a Cleveland Brown," owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. "He epitomizes the characteristics that we look for in our players -- hardworking, professional, consistent and he was a pillar in the community. He is a great example for all current and future Browns."

The Texas native starred for the Longhorns and went undrafted in 1998 before practicing with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots later that year. Dawson ranks seventh in NFL history in regular-season games played (305), eighth in field goals made (441), 11th in points (1,847) and 16th in field goal percentage (83.8).

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