Dawson was named to seven straight Pro Bowls from 1992 to 1998 and was a six-time AP First Team All-Pro. In 1993, he was named co-AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFLPA and in 1996 he was named the NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. He played in 170 consecutive games, the second most in Steelers history, until severe hamstring injuries forced him to sit out nine games in 1999 and seven more games in 2000. Dawson was released by the Steelers following the 2000 season partly due to these injuries and partly due to salary cap reasons. He opted to retire rather than trying to play for another team.
“He was one of the best players that we have ever played against at that position. He had exceptional quickness; I think that really the measure of a center is his ability to play against powerful guys that are lined up over him and try to bull-rush the pocket and collapse it in the middle so that the quarterback can’t step up. Dawson had great leverage and quickness with his hands and his feet where he did a great job of keeping that pocket clean for [Neil] O’Donnell and those guys who played behind him.”
He is the only player to have played in the two most lopsided games in the Browns–Steelers rivalry, getting his first career start at center in the Steelers 51-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns at home (still the worst loss for the Steelers in franchise history), but was victorious in the Steelers 43-0 win against the Browns in Cleveland ten years later, in the Browns’ first game in four years.