Absent Browns haven't signed tenders

BEREA, Ohio -- Four Cleveland Browns were not present at the start of the first day of mandatory minicamp Thursday.

Four became three, however, when fullback Lawrence Vickers arrived 90 minutes into practice.

"I had some legal [family] issues I had to handle in Houston," Vickers said. "So I had to wake up and get me a 5 a.m. flight to make it here and still make it to practice. See, that's dedication. It has nothing to do with my contract."

Safety Abram Elam and linebackers Matt Roth and D'Qwell Jackson weren't present because of contract disputes. The three, all projected starters, are restricted free agents who have not signed their one-year tenders. Therefore, there is no penalty involved.

Vickers also is a restricted free agent.

Tuesday is the deadline for clubs to withdraw original qualifying offers to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting a tender of 110 percent of the previous year's salary.

Browns kicker Phil Dawson did show up for the first time this offseason. Dawson, who has one year left on his contract, could have been fined for missing the mandatory sessions.

Dawson didn't want to talk about his contract status.

"Rumors, speculation and all that, I'm not going to get into any of it. Two things I don't talk about: business and the other is injuries," he said.

Dawson also boycotted the team's voluntary organized team activities last season, then reported to minicamp.

The 11-year veteran missed five games last season with a calf injury, but made 17 of 19 field-goal tries, including his final six.

Cleveland's three-day minicamp runs through Saturday.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.