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A different perspective on Dillon...


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And a bit more accurate than the articles coming from NE.From the Cincinnati Enquirer


Friday, January 21, 2005

We never met this guy

Patriots 'team player' never showed face as Bengal

By Paul Daugherty

Enquirer staff writer

The Bengals lost 78 games in the seven seasons Corey Dillon was with Cincinnati, but the loss total wasn't the sole source of all the attitude problems for the running back, who now plays for the Patriots.

The revisionist paint job on Corey Dillon is getting a little thick. If the New England Patriots return to the Super Bowl in 16 days, Dillon will be part halfback, part Dalai Lama. The notion that CD cured all of his personality ills by leaving the Cincinnati hellhole for the paradise of a Boston exurb is getting maximum run. It's a good story.

All this time, we here in Loserville thought CD was a pouty locker-room wrecker just because, well, just because that's who he was. Some babies are born with hair. Corey Dillon was born with anger.

As a Bengal, Dillon rode permanent shotgun on the last train to Jerkville. It was, we thought, a personality trait.

Boy, were we dumb.

Actually, Corey was just a frustrated young man who needed only the sunshine of winning to bloom and re-emerge as the Prince of New England. Corey Dillon, prince. Who knew?

Dillon's not the player who threw his shoulder pads into the stands after the last game of Cincinnati's 2003 season, who declared "it's all about me," who said he'd rather flip burgers than play for the Bengals.

(That last sentiment came in the midst of a contract negotiation, by the way, not because of Chronic Losing Fatigue. Just to be, you know, accurate.)

Dillon's not that guy. He's Mr. Touchdown. He's Mr. Team.

He's not the guy who a few years ago winged his Ohio driver's license at a clerk at a drive-through convenience store because the kid had the nerve to ask him for identification. "Don't you know who I am?" Dillon asked.

The clerk didn't. Evidently, none of us did.

We didn't understand him. Corey Dillon doesn't think the world is out to get him. He isn't the guy who stiffed the media and his coaches the day he was drafted, so offended was he to have been picked in the second round.

He's the Sunshine Man, a real Team Guy. A "classy dude," in the words of the Patriots' Rodney Harrison.

It's great that Dillon has found his inner bliss in New England. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a habit of teaching team football and getting everyone to play nice together. Dillon has adapted well. Good for him.

But c'mon.

"This is about losing and how it can ruin a man," notes a recent ESPN the Magazine CD story.

That would be true if Dillon had jumped off the plane in Cincinnati humming a happy tune, but he didn't. It's amazing he did so well here, considering he had to carry the football and the boulder on his shoulder.

Dillon showed up with an attitude. It helped define him as a runner. He ran mean.

Losing didn't help his disposition. It didn't help anyone's disposition. To hear Dillon, Dillon was unique in feeling losing's dull, aching pain. He was special.

If Dillon were so consumed with losing, if he were so eager to win, why did some of his classic gripes come in his last season here, when the Bengals finished 8-8 and went into the last regular-season Sunday still in playoff contention? Mr. Winner bailed just when winning was poised for a comeback.

If losing were so cancerous to his spirit, how come Dillon's best year as a Bengal was 2000, when the team finished 4-12?

What ate at Dillon was Rudi Johnson. What ticked him was the notion, held by some in power, that he was past his prime. What riled him was a coach who stood up to him.

Dillon made up stuff about the offensive line not wanting to block for him. He decided Marvin Lewis was "messing" with him by asking him to talk with the media during training camp in 2003. He called Willie Anderson a "bum." Anderson is a very good player and an even better human being. Dillon, in comparison, is a cardboard box.

Mr. Winning didn't pull for Johnson because the Bengals were winning with Rudi in the backfield. He rooted for Rudi because he knew the better Rudi played, the more expendable Dillon would be. "Rudi was my ticket out," Dillon said.

"He was the face of the franchise," ESPN the Magazine claims. Not exactly. Dillon was its best player. The face is out there through bad and badder. Dillon was the face when he had a complaint he needed to air.

And so on. Congratulations to Corey Dillon, Team Guy. Never heard of him.

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