After playing for three teams over a career that spanned 20 seasons, former NFL kicker Phil Dawson has decided to retire.
The 44-year-old made the announcement Thursday while also announcing that he would be signing a one-day contract with Cleveland so that he would officially be able to retire as a member of the Browns.
"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 scored a total of 1,847 points in his career, which ranks 11th on the NFL's all-time scoring list.
It's no surprise that Dawson decided to retire as a member of the Browns, and that's because he played nearly his entire career in northern Ohio. Dawson joined the team in 1999 -- the same year the Browns rejoined the NFL -- and went on to rewrite the kicking record book in Cleveland.
Over 14 seasons, Dawson set multiple franchise records that he still holds, including most career field goals (305), highest career field goal percentage (84.0), most field goals in a season (30 in 2008), highest field goal percentage in a season (93.5 in 2012), field goals in a game (six on Nov. 5, 2006), most consecutive field goals made (29) and most consecutive games with a field goal (23).
When Dawson left Cleveland after the 2012 season, he had shot all the way up to second place on the Browns' all-time scoring list with 1,271 points. That number put him behind only Lou Groza, who scored 1,608 points during his Hall of Fame career with the Browns.
After leaving Cleveland, Dawson went on to play six more seasons in the NFL, with four of those coming in San Francisco and two coming in Arizona. Dawson's 2018 season came to an end, which might have played in a part in his decision to retire.
With Dawson spending the bulk of his career in Cleveland, he never really got a chance to shine in the playoffs, but he did take advantage of his postseason opportunities. In 2013, Dawson helped carry the 49ers to the NFC title game by going 7 of 7 on field goal attempts. That total includes a 33-yard field goal that Dawson hit as time expired to help the 49ers beat the Packers 23-20 in a wild-card game that was played in five-degree weather at Lambeau Field.
The retirement of Dawson means that the NFL is slowly running out of players over the age of 40. During the 2018 season, Dawson was the second-oldest player in the league, behind only Adam Vinatieri, who is currently under contract with the Colts and will turn 47 in December.
With Sebastian Janikowski also , that means Tom Brady is now the third oldest player in the league, trailing only Vinatieri and Matt Bryant. If Bryant, who's currently a free agent, decides to retire, then Brady will be the second oldest player in the league in 2019.