Corey Dillon, a 1,000-yard rusher the past three seasons with Cincinnati, says he still feels unappreciated by the team and would consider sitting out next season rather than play again for the Bengals.
The Pro Bowl running back, sought by several other teams now that he is a restricted free agent, said he would like it if Bengals president Mike Brown stands back and allows Dillon to play for a new team.
"Tell Mr. Brown to please let me sign with a team that really wants me, and let's both move on with our lives," Dillon said Monday. "Don't make it sound like I'm crazy or mad. This is just the way I see it."
Brown said he has been trying to send Dillon a message.
"We like you. We want you back," Brown said.
The Bengals have offered Dillon a one-year contract for $1.37 million, giving them the right to match another offer or receive that team's first- and third-round draft picks. Dillon, Cincinnati's second-round draft pick in 1997, said he would rather skip the season than play again for the Bengals, if no one else signs him.
"I'll be flipping burgers or something. I'll sit," he said. "They can take their $1.3 million and they know what they can do with it. I'll play for 50 bucks somewhere else."
Dillon has repeatedly said, since late in the season, that he thinks the Bengals don't respect him and his ability. He said he had heard muttering when an injury prompted him to miss the last game of the regular season in Jacksonville, Fla.
Last week, the Bengals signed free-agent defensive linemen Vaughn Booker and Tom Barndt, who were both unrestricted free agents.
"They've signed everyone else under the moon and haven't tried to sign me," Dillon said. "It's too late now. The window is closed."
Brown said he still hopes to sign Dillon and bring him back to the Bengals.
"The normal pace of negotiations for restricted free agents is slow because other things are on the burner ahead of that," Brown said. "Normally, talks with restricted free agents pick up after the draft. We plan to give them another offer."
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