The Bengals’ Ring of Honor Selection Process Criticized by Former Running Back Corey Dillon

Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Corey Dillon has expressed his frustration with the team’s ring of honor selection process. As the Bengals’ all-time leading rusher, Dillon believes that the current process, which involves votes from season-ticket holders and suite holders, is flawed. In an interview with The Athletic, Dillon criticized the selection process, stating that it should be conducted directly by the front office or a special committee rather than being treated as a popularity contest.

Dillon emphasized the importance of recognizing players based on their statistical achievements rather than their popularity. He argued that it is unfair to prioritize popularity over players who have made significant contributions to the team. Dillon believes that the responsibility of selecting players for the ring of honor should rest solely with the team, rather than involving external voters who may not have witnessed the players’ performances firsthand.

During his seven seasons with the Bengals, Dillon made three Pro Bowl appearances and consistently rushed for over 1,000 yards, with the exception of his final season under coach Marvin Lewis. However, a contract dispute and dissatisfaction with the team led to Dillon’s trade to the New England Patriots in 2004. Reflecting on the trade, Dillon stated that both parties achieved what they desired, and he expressed his contentment with the outcome.

Dillon’s tenure with the Bengals was not without controversy, as he faced legal issues, including an arrest for domestic violence in 2000. However, he entered pretrial diversion, and the case was subsequently dropped. Following his trade to the Patriots, Dillon continued to excel, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark, earning another Pro Bowl selection, and helping the Patriots win Super Bowl XXXIX.

Despite his success with the Patriots, Dillon believes that his trade should not disqualify him from being recognized in the Bengals’ ring of honor. He expressed disappointment and referred to his omission as “damn-near criminal.” With 8,061 rushing yards and 1,865 attempts, Dillon holds significant franchise records in both categories, making a strong case for his inclusion in the ring of honor.

The Bengals introduced their ring of honor in 2021, spearheaded by team executive Elizabeth Blackburn, the granddaughter of team president Mike Brown. Currently, the ring of honor includes six members: team founder Paul Brown, quarterback Ken Anderson, cornerback Ken Riley, offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz, wide receiver Isaac Curtis, and offensive tackle Willie Anderson. Riley will be posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Muñoz as the franchise’s only players with a gold jacket. Willie Anderson’s inclusion in the ring of honor occurred last year.

However, Dillon expressed doubt about his chances of being recognized by his former club anytime soon. He speculated that other players, such as Jon Kitna and Scott Mitchell, may be prioritized over him for induction into the ring of honor. Despite his disappointment, Dillon’s impact on the Bengals’ franchise is undeniable, and his career achievements make a strong argument for his inclusion in the prestigious ring of honor.

NFL

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