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Thank you. Now, on with the silliness...
In the scattered and somewhat delusional history of Rumor Central, we’ve always tried to trace rumors back to their source, and expose them to the light of
truth whatever it is we do here.
So, it’s with that in mind that we are going to do a pre-emptive strike on any rumors linking the Browns to one PK Phil Dawson.
Dawson, 40, is a free agent after this season and is beloved in Cleveland. As the player with the longest post-expansion tenure with the team, Dawson played on a lot of bad football teams, dodged beer bottles, saw Spergon Wynn play quarterback, and once banged home a last-second kick against Baltimore like the goal posts were some sort of gigantic Nuke-the-Ratbird pinball machine.
Then, of course, Dawson was tossed aside by smilin’ Joe Banner and snatched up by the 49ers.
Dawson returned the love last Sunday, as the Browns gave him a special tribute and he recieved an ovaction from fans. “When I’m an old man and my memory’s starting to fade”, he told reporters, “I just hope the good Lord allows me to always hold on to this one because this is one of the rare ones.”
So, let's take stock: We’ve got mutual love, some problems with Browns field goals getting repeatedly blocked, and a free agent. Of such things are juicy off-season free agent rumors made.
Of course, the media loves such things. Terry Pluto leads the way, in Sunday’s Pluto scribblin’:
Very nice to see the Browns pay tribute to Phil Dawson on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Wonderful standing ovation from the fans. Very classy move by Browns. Dawson kicked a 44-yarder in the first half, making him 19-of–20 on field goals this season. Phil Dawson is a free agent after the season. I know, he’s 40 years old. I also know that assuming he stays healthy, I want him back in 2016.
Dawson was also asked by the media about a potential return and his response leaves the door open:
“I can’t answer that right now”, he said, going on to say that Cleveland was a “special, special place and I love it”.
The tricky bit here is that speculation putting Dawson back in Cleveland assumes that the new front-office-to-be puts a higher emphasis on nostalgia than the fact that Dawson will be in his forties. Odds on this aren’t high, as the new administration won’t have a belief in charming Browns fans with anything other tool than winning.
But you know how rumors go… the fact that there’s nothing to it at this point won’t stop people from talking about it as attention annually turns from this year’s misery to next year’s hope. But at least we'll know how it started.