Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Dillon returns with new team, new outlook


RB says trade benefited everyone

By Mark Curnutte
Enquirer staff writer

TAMPA, Fla. - Corey Dillon will return to Paul Brown Stadium for a preseason game Saturday, only four months and two days after the Bengals traded him to New England.

Dillon, who had 23 rushing yards in the Patriots' preseason opener, said last week that he's not as concerned about the exhibition as he is the regular-season game against the Bengals on Dec. 12 at New England.

"Dec. 12, believe it, it's going to be a big one," Dillon said. "I like it here. If it had been back there, it would have been more of a distraction."

Dillon, traded for a second-round draft pick April 19, left the Bengals as their all-time leading rusher with 8,061 yards.

He doesn't appear to understand why he drew criticism for being a selfish player on his way out of town.

"It feels kind of ironic that I'm one of the best players in their history, but I'm getting a bad rap," Dillon said. "Whatever was said and done, I've left all that behind. This is a rebirth for me. I'm on a clean sheet of paper. This whole thing is about winning."

The Patriots, winners of two of the last three Super Bowls, are favored to make another trip to the title game this season.

The Bengals used the 56th overall pick on Maryland safety Madieu Williams, who has made a positive impression early in training camp.

"It wasn't weird timing. It was the right timing. It happened," Dillon said. "Everything kind of worked out for the best. They got what they wanted. Corey Dillon got what he wanted. The Patriots got what they wanted. It's a good situation for everybody. No hard feelings."

The Bengals were 34-78 in Dillon's seven seasons with the team.

"I'm a competitor with a deep thirst for winning. I wanted to make a move to where I could get an opportunity to do so," he said.

"I'm surrounded by some guys who know how to win. That's what makes a good organization and a good team - people who are willing to go the distance to win.

"It's like a burden off of me. I don't have to do everything. The pressure is off me to go out there and be Superman. I've been doing that for a long time. I'm happy to sit back, and not relax, but just focus on running the ball and helping the team win and not try to do it all."

FACING SURGERY: Punter Kyle Richardson, who tore a biceps muscle Monday night in the preseason opener, is expected to miss several weeks.

Richardson, the team's incumbent punter, said he injured the arm while trying to make a tackle and that he is expected to have surgery.

The Bengals had no comment Tuesday on Richardson's condition.

Rookie Kyle Larson and second-year punter Eddie Johnson will battle for the job in Richardson's absence.

FAMILIAR FEELING: Bengals defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier suffered a knee ligament injury in Super Bowl XX on a special teams play. It essentially ended a promising career in which Frazier had intercepted 20 passes in 65 games for the Chicago Bears.

So, after the Tampa Bay game Monday night, Frazier appeared to be agitated that starting cornerback Deltha O'Neal suffered a bruised thigh and had his ankle rolled on a special teams play.

O'Neal walked on crutches.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Bengals' practice this morning at the Georgetown College training camp was canceled.

The Bengals will practice from 6:15-8:30 p.m. today. Gates open for fans at 5:15 p.m.

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E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




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