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What Offer? Dillon Fires Agent

A day after Corey Dillon's agent said he had rejected an eight-year contract offer, the running back informed the team that he has fired his agent.

Dillon's change of heart Thursday left the Bengals unsure of where they stand with their most valuable player.

Agent David Levine declined to comment Thursday on Dillon's decision, saying he'd have a statement later in the day.

A day earlier, Levine said that Dillon had rejected an eight-year, $60 million offer that included a $12 million signing bonus. Levine said Dillon, who set an NFL single-game record by rushing for 278 yards against Denver last season, wanted to see what kind of offers he could get through free agency.

After reading Levine's comments in the media, Dillon called the Bengals and informed him he was changing agents. He told the team he was never informed of the club's offer.

"Those are certainly intriguing numbers if they're the right numbers," Dillon told the club, which relayed his remarks on its Web site. "But I never heard them. Nothing personal, but I'm moving in a new direction and have hired a new agent I don't want to name yet."

The Bengals can automatically keep Dillon for one more season by using its transition tag on him and matching any offer. General manager Mike Brown has said repeatedly and emphatically that he will do so.

Dillon couldn't be reached for comment at his home in Seattle. Brown was out of town Thursday and didn't immediately return a message.

Dillon also changed agents last November, firing Marvin Demoff in favor of Levine, who represents several Bengals players.

Dillon, 25, set a club record by rushing for 1,435 yards last season, fifth-highest in the NFL. He became the eighth player in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons.

Although Dillon likes the run-oriented offensive philosophy of coach Dick LeBeau, he also wants to play for a winner. The Bengals have gone 4-12 each of the last two seasons and haven't had a winning season since 1990.

Brown confirmed last month that the Bengals had made Dillon an offer, but refused to discuss details. Levine said it included a $12 million signing bonus and base salaries would bring his total for the first three years to $19.5 million.

The base salaries would increase each year after the third year, making the total package worth $60 million over eight years, Levine said.

Dillon wanted a bigger signing bonus and wanted to see what kind of offers he'd get from other teams, Levine said.

Dillon can begin talking to other teams when free agency begins March 2. The Bengals would have to extend a one-year contract offer for about $4 million in order to protect their rights to match any offer from another team.

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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