Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns continued their organized team activities this week with an open practice to the media on Wednesday.
Here are several notes and observations:
Although Browns coach Eric Mangini somewhat dodged the question, it appears kicker Phil Dawson's absence is indeed a contract situation. Dawson is still not present after two weeks of voluntary workouts, and this is coming after his representatives approached the Browns about an extension last season. Dawson has two years left on his current deal.
"It's a voluntary minicamp," Mangini said of the situation. "As I've said with all these guys, everybody has the ability to choose whether or not they want to be here."
Former Pro Bowl kick returner Joshua Cribbs returned to the team this week and said it was tough to continue sitting out with a contract dispute. Cribbs still wants a new deal. But he says he's going to take the approach of proving his worth on the field to a new regime. You can read the full story here.
Newly signed veteran Roderick Hood plans to increase the competition at cornerback and was working with the second team Wednesday. He said he's not worried about going from the Arizona Cardinals, who just competed in the Super Bowl, to a Cleveland Browns team that won four games in 2008.
"I think every team every year has an opportunity to contend," said Hood. "Nobody thought of Arizona at the beginning of the season last year, and we were in the Super Bowl. So this team has just as much opportunity as the next team in the league."
Cleveland starting tailback Jamal Lewis returned to team drills after offseason ankle surgery. Last week he did individual work only with the team's trainer.