Dillon in accident, made inactive

Updated: October 26, 2003, 7:39 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- A traffic accident prevented Corey Dillon from playing Sunday, one more disappointment for the Cincinnati Bengals' disgruntled running back.

Dillon was headed to Paul Brown Stadium with his family before the game when he was involved in an accident. No one was hurt, but the running back was emotionally shaken.

First year coach Marvin Lewis decided not to play Dillon, who was late getting to the stadium because of the accident. He was inactive for the game.

"He called me in a panic," said Lewis, who decided to let backup Rudi Johnson play instead.

Dillon eventually arrived at the stadium, then left. He wasn't on the sideline as Johnson ran for 101 yards and won over fans' hearts _ they chanted "Rudi! Rudi!" _ during a 27-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Before the game, fans showed they were upset over Dillon's midweek outburst. Dillon told reporters Wednesday that he felt unappreciated in Cincinnati and wants to leave in the offseason.

Several fans wore Dillon jerseys to the game with tape blocking out his name above the No. 28. One fan covered "DILLON" with tape and wrote CRYBABY" over it.

"I think he's just mad that they're winning without him," said Scott Robertson, 25, of nearby Burlington, Ky. "That's horrible. The team is finally winning, and he's turning it on himself."

Some fans taunted others in Dillon jerseys as they walked across the stadium plaza.

Dillon's teammates were surprised by his midweek outburst. They learned about an hour before kickoff that he wouldn't play because of the accident.

"I didn't find out until right before 12 o'clock," said Jon Kitna, who threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns. "(Tackle) Willie Anderson came up and told me that Corey was going to be down, that he wasn't going to play. I saw Willie was a little bit down about it."

Dillon is one of only four players in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. His seventh season has been sidetracked by injuries -- a hyperextended knee and a strained groin that have limited him for a month.

The Bengals (3-4) have won three of their last four games despite getting little from Dillon, who has only 203 yards on 62 carries.

"We want our horse in there," said Anderson, who questioned the timing of Dillon's outburst last week. "He's been our horse for seven years, and we're still going to ride him when he's healthy."

Dillon didn't practice last week because of the groin, but expected to play Sunday before he was involved in the accident. Johnson worked out with the starting offense last week.

He became the first Bengal other than Dillon to run for 100 yards since Ki-Jana Carter in 1997.

"There was no pressure," said Johnson, who had not run for more than 69 yards in a game. "Corey didn't practice during the week, so it was a matter of going out and doing what we did during the week in practice."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press