Family inspires Phil Dawson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made headlines Monday when he implored the team to extend the contract of kicker Phil Dawson, who is excelling on a one-year deal.

“Pay the man,” Harbaugh said.

Dawson laughed about the moment Thursday. However, the 38-year-old kicker – who has made a team-record 24 consecutive field-goal attempts –was more touched by what Harbaugh had to say about him as a person and as a family man.

“Very happy with Phil,” Harbaugh said Monday. “Nothing not to be happy with him about. Just so good on the field, off the field, in the locker, in the community. […] He’s committed. He’s made a great sacrifice, too. His family’s not here, and they come and visit. He talks about them all the time. He’s a great role model too for all of us, just how much he loves his wife, how much he loves his kids, how much he talks about them. Just the way he does so many things right. It’s great for everybody to see that.”

Said Dawson: “It wasn’t the contract stuff, it was the person stuff [that made him happy]. It was very humbling.”

As far as the football stuff goes, Dawson said he will worry about a new contract after the season. But it doesn’t sound like there is going to be an issue. He loves being a 49er after spending his first 14 seasons in Cleveland. He has no intention of retiring.

“Everything is a green light,” Dawson said.

Still, he is focusing on finishing this contract. He said the 49ers committed to him for the 2013 season, the season is not over. He wants to stay focused.

As for Harbaugh’s words on his personal life, Dawson was touched because he said his family is making a sacrifice. His wife and three children (ages 12, 10 and 7) live in Texas. This is the third straight year that Dawson’s family has not lived with him during the season. The Dawsons are coming to the Bay Area Friday for the rest of the holiday season. They have made it to most home games all season.

“When my family says it’s enough, that will be it,” Dawson said. “We won’t do it anymore that after that.”