Friday, February 23, 2007

Corey Dillon is done winning Super Bowls

Disgruntled. Tired. Banged-up. Conflicted.
All of the above may be used to describe (former) Patriots running back Corey Dillon after the 32-year-old bruiser sent mixed messages today regarding his football future, hinting at retirement yet "willing to look into offers from other teams."

But camera-shy Corey sounds perfectly clear regarding one aspect of his career- he's done carrying the rock for the New England Patriots after 3 seasons, 3,180 yards, 39 touchdowns and 1 large diamond-studded ring.
Dillon was an instrumental part in New England's 3rd Super Bowl title, rushing for a Patriot record 1,635 yards in the 2004 regular season after being released from his own personal purgatory with the Cincinnati Bengals. But it's no secret that the press-hating Dillon seethed over his decline in carries (from 345 to 209 to 199 last year) as well as the emergence of rookie Lawrence Maroney in 2006, forcing Dillon into becoming almost a situational back, primarily a short yardage & goal line specialist.

Combine the attractiveness of Maroney's age (22), productivity (722 yards) and contract (rookies don't make much) with Dillon's aging legs, declining numbers and bloated salary (he is owed $4.4 million for 2007, part of a 5-year extension he signed in 2005) and Dillon knew the handwriting was on the wall for him to be used even less than Chucky used the A-Train the last few years.

But instead of hanging around with a model franchise as an important part of a team that has a chance to make the Super Bowl every year he wants another shot at starting glory despite the fact that he is about 4 years past his prime and is a locker room cancer waiting to happen on a less-disciplined team. So he asked out of his contract, which the cash-thrifty Pats happily obliged, and although he dropped some hints about wanting to spend more time with his family and such, if a better deal (i.e. being a featured back) comes around then Corey will suit up for an 11th season.

Thanks for everything, Corey. Don't let the reality check hit you in the ass on the way out.

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