Browns seeking kicker after cutting Graham
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.
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, 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.
Wide receiver David Nelson was among 13 players released as Chudzinski reduced his roster to 53, the NFL's required limit.
However, with an abundance of offensive linemen, few playmakers for quarterback Brandon Weeden and no kicker, the Browns' look could change several times in the days ahead.
"This is our Aug. 31 roster and not necessarily our Sept. 8 roster," he said.
In addition to releasing players, the Browns 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 missed last season after tearing a knee ligament in the opener with Buffalo, and was slowed by a bone bruise in training camp. He only appeared in Cleveland's exhibition finale, and although he appeared healthy, Chudzinksi said it was the improvement of others who cost him a spot.
"The biggest thing was the other guys and what they were able to do," Chud said.
Another cutdown casualty was rookie safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round draft pick this year from Notre Dame. Slaughter missed most of last season with an Achilles injury.
NOTES: Chudzinski said rookie LB Barkevious Mingo will not undergo a CT scan on Monday as had been reported. Mingo is still recovering from a bruised lung he sustained in an Aug. 15 game against Detroit. He did some running last week and lifted weights, but the first-round draft pick's status for the season opener is still not known. ... Cleveland's roster includes five rookie free agents, including safety Josh Aubrey from Stephen F. Austin. "He came out of nowhere," Chudzinski said. ... With Slaughter being cut, only four draft picks made the roster: Mingo, CB Leon McFadden, G Garrett Gilkey and DE Armonty Bryant. Cleveland only had five picks after trading two away.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index