Browns cut kicker Shayne Graham
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - The Browns knew it would be difficult to replace dependable kicker Phil Dawson. And just one week before their season opener, they still haven't found one.
Cleveland terminated the contract of veteran Shayne Graham and released rookie Brandon Bogotay on Saturday, leaving the club without a kicker as it approaches the Sept. 8 season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski said the team wasn't "completely satisfied'' with their kicking situation and needed to keep their roster flexible because of injuries. Chudzinski 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. "We may work some of those guys out. I'm not concerned.''
One option could be Dan Carpenter, who was released by Miami, Arizona and the New York Jets.
Chudzinski 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, who had been with Cleveland since 1999 before leaving after last season and signing with San Francisco. Graham's surprising release was compounded by the Browns decision to cut 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 in Thursday's preseason win over Chicago.
Wide receiver David Nelson was among 13 players released as Chudzinski reduced his roster to 53. However, with 12 offensive linemen, only four wide receivers and no kicker, the Browns' look could change several times in the coming days.
The team also placed starting wide receiver Josh Gordon on the reserve/suspended list. Gordon is ineligible to play in the first two games because he violated the league's drug policy.
Nelson signed with the Browns as a free agent in April. He missed last season after tearing a knee ligament in the opener with Buffalo. He was slowed by a bone bruise in training camp and only appeared in one exhibition game.
Also, the Browns released rookie safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round draft pick this year from Notre Dame.
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