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Some Browns players in camp still want new deals

By dan Published: June 11, 2009

This is an uncredited AP story I figured some would find interesting from today's mini camp:
BEREA: The Cleveland Browns have a small cluster of players who were happy to show up for new coach Eric Mangini's mandatory minicamp on Thursday even though they're far from pleased with their contracts.
Kicker Phil Dawson, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and special teamer Josh Cribbs are all seeking new deals.
Jackson, entering the final year of his contract, hasn't let it stop him from practicing, while Cribbs skipped some voluntary workouts last month before eventually reporting.
Dawson's appearance Thursday was his first since the end of the season. He skipped the voluntary workouts last month to protest his contract, which pays him $1 million this season and next. One of the league's most accurate kickers, Dawson wants to be paid like one.
Cincinnati tagged Shayne Graham as its franchise player in February, assuring him a salary of $2.483 million — the average salary of the top five kickers in the NFL last year. Dawson will make less than half of that.
He returned to the Browns' rain-soaked practice field on Thursday, but not to talk money.
"I'm not going to get into all of that," Dawson said. "I'm here today and it's good to see my teammates again. There's a time and place for all that, but now is not it."
Dawson heads into the season with a career 82.8 percent field goal percentage, the best mark in franchise history and fourth all-time in the NFL. With Dawson absent from the voluntary workouts, the Browns signed South Dakota State rookie kicker Parker Douglass to a two-year deal. Douglass has impressed at times and flashed a powerful leg, but Mangini was pleased to have Dawson back in camp.
"He looked good in the field goal drill," Mangini said. "It's good to have everybody back. It's good to be operating with a full group."
Jackson will make $640,000 this year after his 154 tackles last season led the NFL. But Jackson participated in the voluntary workouts, saying he needed to be at all the camps to prove his worth to the new coaching staff.
"It's what I produce on the field," Jackson said. "These coaches don't know me from anybody. All they know is some tape. They don't know what kind of person I am. They don't know how I conduct myself. It's my duty as a player to come in and show what I am capable of. Am I worth what I say I am?"
Despite rain that turned heavy at times, Mangini kept Thursday's two-hour morning session outdoors, watched by eight Green Berets who were invited by the coach.
There also were a few players who were only observing.
Running back Jamal Lewis, who has been held out for most of the offseason drills, is still taking it slow following offseason ankle surgery.
Receiver Braylon Edwards, who made the Pro Bowl two seasons ago but slipped in 2008, also spent Thursday's practice on a stationary bike with an undisclosed injury. Both Edwards and Mangini said it wasn't serious, and Mangini added that Edwards is expected to participate fully in the team's training camp in July.
"Coach Mangini is just taking precaution," Edwards said. "I'm just enjoying my time on the side. It's on coach's terms right now."
Looking to add depth to the secondary, the Browns had former Bears safety Mike Brown in for a visit this week. Brown went to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and started 15 games last year before being placed on injured reserve.
"Mike is a guy I have watched for a long time," Mangini said. "With any of these guys we bring in, sometimes we sign them right away, sometimes it's during training camp and sometimes we don't. It's to gather information and to be able to put ourselves in a position to make decisions."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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