As part of their 50th anniversary celebration this year, the Bengals held a fan vote for the Top 50 players in franchise history and invited the winners back for games during the regular season.
That group includes running back Corey Dillon, who ran for at least 1,129 yards in each of his first six seasons with the team before asking for a trade prior to the 2004 season. Dillon, who had other issues with management while in Cincinnati, was traded to the Patriots, which led to a Super Bowl ring after the next season and an estrangement from the Bengals that Dillon hopes will finally come to a pleasant end this year.
Dillon told Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he “did some stuff that was not cool” on his way out of town, but has no “ill will” toward the franchise any longer and that he’s happy to have a chance to build a new relationship starting with the anniversary festivities.
“They say time heals wounds,” Dillon said. “I played seven years hard for the Bengals. I’m a part of their history. They are a part of mine. I don’t dwell on the past. What happened in the past is done. If I had a magic wand to go undo some stuff I would, but I can’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward and have a better relationship. That’s how I look at it. I appreciate it for them giving me a call and inviting me back. That means a lot.”
Dillon’s time with the Bengals didn’t see the team win many games, but Dillon posted some remarkable numbers including a then-record 278 rushing yards on just 22 carries in a 2000 game against the Broncos. Dillon calls the plaque the team gave him to commemorate that game “one of my favorite items” and it seems those happy memories are more prominent the further his playing career recedes into the distance.