As John Taylor first reported early this week, veteran kicker Phil Dawson was among the Browns on the field – and in a light rain -- Thursday morning as the club began a mandatory, three-day full-squad minicamp.
However, wide receiver Braylon Edwards was not there, at least at the beginning.
It was Dawson’s first appearance with the team in some time, as he had skipped the voluntary minicamps and the OTAs, apparently in a contract dispute. It is expected he will address the issue coming off the field, when the media interview period with the players begins.
The 34-year-old Dawson, in his 10th season and the only player left from the Browns 1999 expansion team, is signed through the 2010 campaign. One of the best – and most accurate – kickers in the game, and also one of the best kickers in team history, he is coming off a season in which he hit 30-of-36 field-goal tries and led the team in scoring once more with 108 points. It was his second straight 100-point season, and fourth in the last five years.
In Dawson’s absence, the Browns signed rookie Parker Douglass, a South Dakota State product who did well early on this spring but has struggled some lately.
Edwards worked inside for unspecified reasons – possibly health-related, hinted head coach Eric Mangini -- during some of the earlier practices but later emerged in sweat pants and pedaled a bike on the sidelines. Mangini will hopefully clear that up – and the Dawson situation -- when he talks after practice.
Along with Dawson, running back Jamal Lewis, who had missed some of the last minicamp and OTA practices for unspecified reasons, was on the field.
There will be another practice this afternoon and two more on Friday before a single session on Saturday closes the minicamp and the players break for some much-needed rest and relaxation to get ready for the start of training camp in about six weeks.