Thursday, January 22, 2004

Dillon's name keeps surfacing


Bucs in the market for running back

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MOBILE, Ala. - The Senior Bowl rumor mill cranked out a couple more Bengals-related items Wednesday:

The first was that the Buccaneers are interested in trading for Bengals tailback Corey Dillon.

"I've talked to a few teams about potential trades," general manager Bruce Allen told the Tampa Tribune.

The Bucs' featured back, Thomas Jones, is an unrestricted free agent.

Allen and coach Jon Gruden are vague when asked about Dillon, because he remains under contract for two more years with the Bengals.

"He's one of the top backs in the league," Gruden told the Enquirer this week when asked if he thought Dillon were on the decline. Gruden also said he hadn't watched film on Dillon since his team prepared to play the Bengals on Sept. 29, 2002.

Coach Marvin Lewis said the Bengals have not had trade conversations with any team.

Rumor No. 2 involves the Bengals defense. Word is there is a 99 percent chance the team will pursue a top cornerback when free agency begins March 3.

The long list of top unrestricted free agent corners includes Washington's Champ Bailey and Baltimore's Chris McAlister, both of whom are expected to stay put. Another top corner expected to test the market, unless he receives a free agency tag, is Buffalo's Antoine Winfield. He is a five-year veteran from Ohio State.

FINALLY: First, Staples sent out a news release Tuesday that proclaimed Lewis its NFL Coach of the Year in fan voting on NFL.com. Then a check of the Web site showed that voting had been extended until Jan. 30. Then word came late Wednesday that voting was shutting down and Lewis was the winner.

Lewis had received 43.3 percent of the 67,321 votes cast through noon Wednesday. Dallas Bill Parcells was second at 15.8 percent.

Lewis, here to coach the North team in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, said the award would be recognition for a job well done by people throughout the organization.

"I want to thank everybody and move forward," Lewis said.

Staples is donating $25,000 to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, an organization Lewis and his wife, Peggy, started in October to provide money for educational programs that serve children in impoverished Greater Cincinnati communities.

ADVANCE WORK: It is uncertain whether Greg Seamon will return as the Bengals' advance scout in 2004, but Lewis said someone will do that job. It was the first time the Bengals had used an advance scout, a common NFL practice. Coaches said the information was valuable.

ON THE LIST: Bengals quarterback coach Ken Zampese's name was mentioned this week in the Bears' front office as a possible fall-back candidate for offensive coordinator on Lovie Smith's staff. Smith and Zampese coached together for the Rams. But late Wednesday, Chicago announced an agreement with former Chiefs quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.




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Dillon's name keeps surfacing
Coaches' corner

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