Former 49ers kicker Phil Dawson retires at 44

Phil Dawson, who made the field goal in the final seconds that gave the 49ers a wild-card victory over the Packers in the 2013 playoffs, retired from the NFL at age 44 after 20 seasons.

Dawson spent his first 14 seasons with the Browns and will sign a one-day contract to ceremonially retire with the franchise. He scored 1,271 points with the Cleveland, trailing only Hall of Famer Lou Groza in team history.

Overall, his 441 field goals are eighth on the NFL career list. Dawson played in 305 games — the seventh most in league history — and ranks 11th with 1,847 points.

Dawson spent four seasons with San Francisco, but it was his first season with the 49ers that was especially memorable. Replacing David Akers, who was released following the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss to the Ravens after the 2012 season, Dawson made a career-high 27 consecutive field-goal attempts and finished with the second-most points (140) and field goals (32) in team history.

On Jan. 5, 2014, with the 49ers and Packers tied 20-20 with 1:20 left in cold conditions at Lambeau Field — at 5 degress at kickoff, it was the coldest game in 49ers history — quarterback Colin Kaepernick scrambled for 11 yards on 3rd-and-8 from the 38, then running back Frank Gore powered through the middle to set up a 33-yard kick by Dawson as time expired.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2012, Dawson began his career with Cleveland’s expansion team in 1999. He joined the 49ers as a free agent in 2013 and played with the Cardinals the last two seasons.

He said the “opportunity to come back home and retire with the organization and the city that I love is incredibly meaningful.” He added that it “seems right” to do this with the “fans that have been so good to me and my family.”

Hall of Fame Game: In Canton, Ohio, Trey Johnson’s interception with 5:21 left set up rookie Juwann Winfree’s 15-yard touchdown catch with 1:26 to go as the Broncos beat Atlanta 14-10 to open the NFL’s preseason.

“Trey made a nice play at the end, and Winfree made an acrobatic catch,” Denver head coach Vic Fangio said. “It’s always good to be here for this game. It’s always great to be around great ex-players and owners.”

Fangio became the first head coach to utilize the new rule allowing challenges of pass-interference calls. Late in the second quarter, the Broncos’ Linden Stephens was called for a 43-yard defensive penalty. Officials upheld the call.

“I made a statement I’d be the first to throw the flag on defensive pass interference,” Fangio said.

Kalil unretires: Five-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil has come out of retirement to join the Jets.

Kalil, 34, and the Jets agreed to terms on a deal Thursday. He’ll need to pass a physical before signing his contract and making it official.

Kalil announced at the end of last season that he was retiring from playing football after 12 NFL seasons — all with the Panthers.

Briefly: Seattle rookie first-round pick L.J. Collier, a defensive end, will be sidelined for weeks after the defensive end suffered a badly sprained ankle in practice earlier this week. … Jacksonville rookie linebacker Quincy Williams, a third-round draft pick who showed enough over the past three months to earn a starting spot, will miss 4-to-6 weeks because of a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered in practice.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Former-49ers-kicker-Phil-Dawson-retires-at-44-14275118.php.

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