BEREA, Ohio — Wanted: Kicker to boot field goals for NFL team. Experience preferred. Start immediately. Salary negotiable. Call Rob Chudzinski.
With just one week left before their season opener, the Cleveland Browns are still looking for a kicker.
As many predicted and some feared, finding a replacement for the dependable Phil Dawson has been difficult.
On Saturday, the Browns reduced their roster to 53 by terminating the contract of veteran kicker Shayne Graham and releasing rookie Brandon Bogotay, leaving the club without a kicker as it approaches the Sept. 8 season opener against Miami.
Chudzinski said the Browns weren’t “completely satisfied” with their kicking situation and needed to set their roster — Cleveland is carrying 12 offensive linemen and four wide receivers — the way it is because of injuries.
Chudzinski, who emphasized the roster is “fluid,” said the Browns have not closed the door completely on Graham or Bogotay and may bring in some kickers for tryouts.
“We’ll have a kicker within the next few days,” said Chudzinski, who noted there are veteran kickers available as free agents. “I’m not concerned.”
The Browns have been searching for a kicker since deciding not to re-sign Dawson, who was with the club since 1999 but left after last season and signed as a free agent with San Francisco.
Two possible options are veterans Dan Carpenter and Billy Cundiff, who are both available after being cut by the New York Jets.
Chudzinski said he isn’t worried about bringing in a new kicker with only days to prepare for the opener.
“In places I’ve been before and situations I’ve been before, we’ve had kickers throughout the course of the season,” he said. “It’s probably the one position where a guy can come in, and it’s unique in that way. There’s not a lot of interaction with teammates and getting to learn systems. It’s pretty much an individualized skill, so I’m not concerned about it.
“I feel like between the pool that’s there and the guys who have been here, we’ll find the guy that we need.”
The Browns signed Graham as a free agent in April, presumably to take over for Dawson, the second-leading career scorer in team history.
Graham’s surprising release — he went 3-for-3 in the preseason — was compounded by the Browns’ decision to part ways with Bogotay, who showed promise during training camp and the preseason but was recently slowed by a groin injury.
Chudzinski said punter Spencer Lanning would not also handle kicking duties despite making two field goals, including a game-winning 40-yarder in Thursday’s preseason win over Chicago.
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