Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Corey to Hawaii?

Bengals star Dillon could appear in 3rd straight Pro Bowl

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEW ORLEANS — Bengals running back Corey Dillon has the opportunity to play in his third consecutive NFL Pro Bowl.

        On Tuesday, Seelers running back Jerome Bettis, one of three AFC running backs selected to play in the all-star game by fans, coaches and players, elected not to play. He missed two months with a groin injury and returned to play Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

        Dillon, as the top alternate, is first in line to replace Bettis.

        But as of late Tuesday, the Bengals had received no official word from the NFL office.

        Brown “is aware of reports that Bettis won't play, but we've received nothing official,” Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said. “We have received no official word that Corey has been selected.”

        Dillon rushed for 1,315 yards in 2001, the second most in his five-year career. His 340 carries were the most in the AFC, and he also had a career-high 34 receptions.

        Dillon has passed two physicals that would allow him to play. Bengals trainer Paul Sparling said last week that Dillon was planning to undergo a minor arthroscopic operation on his left knee. He was waiting to schedule the surgery depending on whether he would play in the Feb.9 Pro Bowl.

        Sparling described the procedure as “mild” and said it will be performed as the result of “degenerative change.”

        The other two AFC running backs are Kansas City's Priest Holmes and the New York Jets' Curtis Martin.

        Dillon was one of two Bengals voted to the Pro Bowl after the 1999 season, joining kickoff returner Tremain Mack.

        Dillon was the team's only representative after the 2000 season.


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