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Longest-tenured Browns excited for Crennel's turn



Published: Mon, August 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Phil Dawson and Daylon McCutcheon have experienced only 30 wins.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The two longest-tenured Browns have been hit pretty hard during their time in Cleveland, spending much of it looking up at the rest of the league.

Kicker Phil Dawson and cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, the only two Browns left from the expansion season of 1999, have a 30-67 won-loss record as NFL players.

Enter new Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel and the two say they're as excited as ever about the start of training camp, which began Friday.

"It's a new beginning," McCutcheon said after the first practice. "I'm very confident. I feel we have a good coaching staff.

"The thing about it is, Romeo's track record speaks for itself. Even though he hasn't been a head coach before, he's won everywhere he's been. I think it's only fair to go into it optimistic and confident and give him 100 percent. I can't blame him for what's gone on before."

Frustrated in 2004

McCutcheon hasn't always been known for a rosy outlook. Last year as the team slipped into another losing season, McCutcheon avoided talking to reporters several times out of frustration. He said he thought about trying to go to a different team.

"I just felt, especially when I didn't know there was going to be a coaching change, I felt like maybe it was time to start over somewhere else and give myself a new beginning," he said.

But then he thought of his teammates.

"I feel we've been through so much together, and I'd love to win here with Orpheus Roye and Andra Davis and those guys," he said. "I felt like I might be walking out on them, and that bothered me."

Passion

Dawson, a Texas native who played at the University of Texas, has come to appreciate the passion of fans in Cleveland.

"We were all new here in '99," Dawson said. "You can't expect guys to pick up on the tradition and how important this team is to the city right away. I think through time and through those of us who have been here four, five, six years, the locker room is starting to sense how important it is to the fans."

Dawson said he didn't immediately understand in 1999 fans' gleeful animosity toward the Steelers and the Ravens.

"But those of us who have played Pittsburgh twice a year, now we understand. Now we understand the Baltimore thing," he said. "Now we understand the nature of the city and the kind of people that are here. I think a team needs to take on the personality of its city. And I think guys are starting to do that. It hasn't happened before."




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