RB upset by limited carries since '97

Updated: October 23, 2003, 12:41 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Disgruntled running back Corey Dillon said Wednesday he wants out of Cincinnati, an outburst that represents the first direct challenge of coach Marvin Lewis.

Corey Dillon

The Bengals (2-4) have won two of their last three games by relying on their passing game while Dillon recovers from a strained groin, leaving the running back in a bad mood.

As he walked into the locker room on Wednesday, Dillon said aloud, "I want out. Trade me to Dallas."

Dillon said later Wednesday that he was joking about Dallas -- the trading deadline was Oct. 14 -- but not about his desire for change. He has two years left on his contract.

"I would prefer to be in a place where I'm appreciated," Dillon said. "It could be anywhere. Who knows? I'm just going to get to a place where I'm happy and I feel appreciated and they recognize my talents and I can achieve my goals.

"Wherever that may be, I don't know. But that's the first thing on my offseason list."

When reporters approached, Dillon shooed them away, saying, "Beat it. I don't like you guys." He then told the team's Web site employee and a reporter from the Dayton Daily News that he's unhappy with his limited role and desperately wants to leave.

"When I'm healthy, I still don't get the ball over 20 times a game," Dillon said. "So it really doesn't matter, healthy or unhealthy."

"I'm going to get to a place where I'm comfortable and they understand my talent and they recognize what I bring to the table," Dillon said. "In order to compete with the big boys in this game, the big boys are getting it 25 to 30 times. I'm not going to be able to compete 14 times a game. That's being realistic."

During his seven-year career, Dillon has repeatedly groused that he doesn't get the ball enough. Dillon is one of only four players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons.

"Do I feel a little bit stepped on? Yeah, I do," Dillon said. "Have I been feeling this way for a long time? Yes, I have. It has nothing to do with the new regime here, the coaches. This boils back to '97, and it's been like this for a long time with me."

Dillon has been Lewis' biggest problem in the locker room since he took over as head coach last January. Dillon was the only regular to skip a voluntary minicamp, and the only player to show up late for the start of training camp.

Dillon's outburst couldn't have come at a worse time for Lewis. The Bengals are coming off a 34-26 victory over Baltimore that moved them back into contention in the AFC North.

Dillon has been limited this season by a hyperextended knee as well as the strained groin, which caused him to sit out one game and most of two others. Coming into this season, Dillon's 969 carries over the last three seasons were the second-highest total in the league, trailing only Eddie George.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press