Sunday, August 29, 1999

BENGALS NOTEBOOK


Dillon's contract will wait until January

BY GEOFF HOBSON and TOM GROESCHEN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[dillon]
Willie Jackson (80) blocks Kurt Schultz for teammate Corey Dillon.
(Thomas E. Witte photo)
| ZOOM |
        It now looks like the earliest Corey Dillon and the Bengals can agree on a contract extension is the offseason.

        Marvin Demoff, Dillon's agent, said Saturday his client doesn't want to be distracted by negotiations and that if a deal isn't reached by the Sept.12 opener, he'll wait until January.

        “It doesn't make sense for him to gain 150 yards one week, get his hopes up, and then get 4 yards the next week and wonder what that means,” Demoff said. “I've never seen any negotiations during the season that were constructive, especially for a player at a skill position like running back or wide receiver.”

        Dillon, the first running back in Bengals history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons, is attempting to become the 11th NFL player to hit 1,000 in his first three seasons.

        NFL sources say the Bengals have sent two proposals to Dillon, one modeled on the extension recently signed by third-year Eagles running back Duce Staley for six years at $18 million. Cincinnati then hiked that offer by $100,000 a year, a move that apparently miffed Dillon.

        But Demoff said Dillon isn't upset by the Bengals' offers and understands that the club doesn't have to sign him right now. After this season, he becomes a restricted free agent, for whom the Bengals can match any offer.

        “He doesn't view this as good or bad,” Demoff said. “He had every right to ask for what he wanted, and they had every right to ask him to sign for whatever they wanted. They came across as not being urgent about it, and that's fine, because if they're viewing this as a business decision in which they'll sign him now if they can get him at a good price, that's how they view it. That doesn't bother Corey. He's just saying that doesn't change what he thinks his value is.”

        Demoff isn't saying what that it is, but Dillon implied last week he thinks he's worth more than Staley, who has rushed for 1,000 yards just once. Atlanta's Jamal Anderson just signed an extension worth $5 million a year, and while Dillon might not be looking at that money, he's clearly not looking for $3 million a year, either.

        “Corey is fine with this,” Demoff said.

        HUNDON BUSY: Has anyone at training camp helped his cause more by doing less than wide receiver James Hundon? Hundon didn't play in the scrimmage or the exhibition opener because of a bruised kidney, and he caught one pass last week in Detroit for 19 yards.

        Meanwhile, wide receiver Stepfret Williams, who looked to be a roster lock, has struggled with some dropped passes. Tommie Boyd, a special teams ace, has been cut. Hundon just keeps rolling along with his speed and versatility. The Bengals planned to use him in four receiver spots Saturday night against the Bills.

        Hundon was slated to go in the slot on third down in the first quarter, replacing Williams. Then he was going to replace Darnay Scott at flanker in the second quarter before moving him to split end in the third quarter. They also planned to mix him in at weak side receiver when he replaces a running back.

        MURPHY WATCH: Rob Murphy, the former Ohio State All-American and Moeller High product, still faces a fight for a roster spot.

        Murphy is listed No.3 at left guard on the depth chart, behind Matt O'Dwyer and Mike Goff.

        “His physical condition and strength weren't good when he came in,” said Jim Lippincott, director of pro and college personnel. “But he's been trying very hard and doing what he can.”

        IN AND OUT: The Bengals still want punter Brad Costello to show some consistency, but he has been unable to do it with a sore right hip flexor. Costello punted just once Saturday night, shanking a 19-yarder before place-kicker Doug Pelfrey relieved him.

        It was announced that Costello left the game because his hip was bothering him again.

       



Bengals Stories
BILLS 30, BENGALS 3
Drive chart: Offense going nowhere
Game statistics
Bengals shouldn't rush Akili
Smith makes pro debut
- BENGALS NOTEBOOK
Fans don't expect much from Bengals