Dawson was recognized for his accomplishments with the Steelers, with whom he played for 13 seasons, 1988 through 2000. He became the starting center in 1989 and played 170 consecutive games before being sidelined during the 1999 season because of an injury.
Dawson was named first-team All-Pro for six straight years, 1993-98, and played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99). He was named the Co-AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Players Association in 1993 and the NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year for the '96 season. He anchored an offensive line that led the Steelers to five AFC Central Division championships and the AFC title in the 1995 season. He played in Super Bowl XXX in January of 1996.
A native of Lexington, Dawson played center and guard at Kentucky from 1984-87 under Coach Jerry Claiborne. During his collegiate career, Dawson blocked for three players who were then among the top four rushers in UK history – Mark Higgs, George Adams and Marc Logan. More than two decades later, Higgs, Adams and Logan still rank among the top seven rushers in Wildcat annals. Dawson and current Wildcat head coach Joker Phillips were teammates during the 1984 season.
Dawson was a member of the 1984 Kentucky squad that posted a 9-3 record, capped by a victory over Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl. He was named All-Southeastern Conference as a senior and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, College of Education.
Since his retirement from football, Dawson has returned to live in the Lexington area. He has served on the UK Board of Trustees and the UK Athletics Board.
Dawson is the second Wildcat who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins legendary quarterback/kicker George Blanda, who played for a record 26 seasons and was the first player ever to score 2,000 points in a career.
Dawson will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 5.