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Thread: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

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    Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Would you put this man in the Hall?
    By GEOFF HOBSON
    September 28, 2006

    Posted: 11 a.m.


    Dillon: Has the numbers but is he Hall worthy? (Getty Images)
    Corey Dillon left Paul Brown Stadium back in December of 2003 as a disgruntled Pro Bowler in a mid-life crisis.

    He returns this Sunday for his first real game in the city of his NFL birth as a distinguished elder statesman in the final strides of a Hall of Fame career.

    Right?

    What better place to get 46 yards Sunday and move into 15th place on the all-time rushing list past Ricky Watters with 10,644 yards?

    Right?

    Dillon, who turns 32 in another month, is going to have a little tougher road proving it to people outside the Cincinnati riverfront, where he rushed for two of the biggest nine games in NFL history.

    And he may even have a tough sell on the Ohio because, as his good friend T.J. Houshmandzadeh said Wednesday, “Yeah, probably he’ll get booed.”

    In a minute sampling of Pro Football Hall of Fame voters, Dillon isn’t a first thought, never mind first ballot.

    “Not in my mind. That’s my initial reaction,” said Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com, one of the voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “He’s one of these guys you have to go back and look at his career. Does a guy smell like a Hall of Famer? I’m not sure Corey does. But he’d be a guy that deserves consideration.”

    Pasquarelli isn’t alone on the 39-member panel that will be faced with Dillon’s candidacy five years after he retires. What is it that Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, another voter, always says?

    “It’s the Hall of Fame,” King will tell you. “Not the Hall of Very Good,” and that’s what he says about Dillon.

    Now.

    “His career isn’t over so there’s no finality to it,” King said. “But the problem you have with a guy like Corey is that his peers in 10 more years are going to have a lot more yards than him. And he’s done some great things. But Corey, I would say no.”

    But there is no question Dillon has been, at the very least, all of very good in nine plus seasons of running the ball in the NFL, no small feat in itself.

    He’s the only active NFL player who has rushed for more than 10,000 yards. After starting his career by rushing for at least 1,000 yards in his first six seasons in Cincinnati, he stands ninth on the all-time list for average yards per season at 1,158.

    And seven of the eight guys in front of him are either in the Hall or are locks. And he should go in before the eighth, Eddie George.

    “I’m not sure I understand the whole process,” said Dillon’s future Hall of Fame coach, Bill Belichick. “He’s certainly in that category. He’s had a great career. I’m sure he would deserve some consideration.”

    But like Belichick said, he’s not sure what is involved, and he could have been even speaking for some of the voters who are flummoxed by the whole process. Dillon has all-time numbers, but his story needs to be sold.

    “Yeah, he’s not a no-brainer and I’ve probably seen the guy play more than anyone outside Cincinnati and New England,” said another voter, Tony Grossi of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “But there’ll be time to take a look at the guy. He’s not like Thurman Thomas, who I think should get in this time around. But there will be time to look at the record.”

    On first mention, Vinny Ditrani of The Bergen Record isn’t biting, either.

    “He’s not a Troy Aikman or anything like that,” Ditrani said. “He’ll need some good presentations.”

    And he’ll get at least one from the man who has the Cincinnati vote, Chick Ludwig of The Dayton Daily News. Each candidate is presented by selectors from the markets where he played. Ron Borges of The Boston Globe, the man who has the Pats’ vote, couldn’t be reached.

    TOP 16 NFL RUSHERS OF ALL TIME
    Player Seasons Yards Rushes Ave TD
    Emmitt Smith 15 18,355 4,409 4.2 164
    Walter Payton 13 16,726 3,838 4.4 110
    Barry Sanders 10 15,259 3,062 5.0 99
    Curtis Martin 11 14,101 3,518 4.0 90
    Jerome Bettis 13 13,662 3,479 3.9 91
    Eric Dickerson 11 13,259 2,996 4.4 90
    Tony Dorsett 12 12,739 2,936 4.3 77
    Jim Brown 9 12,312 2,359 5.2 106
    Marshall Faulk 12 12,279 2,836 4.3 100
    Marcus Allen 16 12,243 3,022 4.1 123
    Franco Harris 13 12,120 2,949 4.1 91
    Thurman Thomas 13 12,074 2,877 4.2 65
    John Riggins 14 11,352 2,916 3.9 104
    O.J. Simpson 11 11,236 2,404 4.7 61
    Ricky Watters 10 10,643 2,622 4.1 78
    Corey Dillon 10 10,598 2,460 4.3 70


    “I would definitely make the case for him,” Ludwig said. “Just because of his consistent excellence down through the years. Think what he could have done on a good team and look what he’s done. There might be some people who have some off-field issues with him, but that isn’t supposed to be a factor because you’re only supposed to vote on on-field performance.”

    Part of the reason for the first lukewarm response could be that he labored so obscurely on bad Bengals teams in a small media market made even smaller by the losing.

    Another reason is because a lot of people simply don’t know about him because he eschews the media so triumphantly.

    Even this week he turned down the request from the Cincinnati media to do the weekly opponent conference call. And he routinely blows off the Boston press, speaking about once a month, which started last year when the whispers about his age got to him.

    Dillon prides himself on being prickly and it may keep him out of the Hall at first. Not because he treats guys like that, but because his name and achievements don’t get out much beyond the glowering visage.

    “That has nothing to do with it,” Grossi said. “That doesn’t bother me. There are plenty of sourpusses in the Hall of Fame.”

    “There are two questions I’ve never heard in that meeting room,” King said. “A, was the guy a good interview and B, what kind of guy was he.”

    Those close to Dillon think he’s a no-brainer. His best friend on the Bengals, Houshmandzadeh, says simply, “Look what he’s accomplished. Just on that alone.”

    Dillon couldn’t even get along with player-friendly Marvin Lewis, but Lewis has always admired the track record even though Dillon forced him to trade him. (Hey, it’s the Hall of Fame, not Hall of Team.)

    “That's awesome. He is the only active running back right now in the NFL with 10,000 yards. His accomplishments are huge,” Lewis said.

    Patriots Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, who has spent the better part of a decade tackling the best, is convinced.

    “It’s an amazing accomplishment enough to be a defensive player, but never mind being an offensive player taking the pounding,” he said. “Time in and time out, and play at a high level consistently over 10 years, I think that’s pretty amazing. If I had to pick a Hall of Fame, I would definitely consider him just because of what he’s accomplished.”

    Dillon must have something on his mind after just the second sub-1,000-yard season of his career last year. Houshmandzadeh said, “He worked out like a mother during the offseason, man,” in Los Angeles.

    “He played basketball, lifted weights, running hills,” Houshmandzadeh said. “CD never worked out. He was blessed. He didn’t have to. I think because he got hurt last year (pulled muscle) and didn’t come back from it the way he thought he would, or as soon as he thought. You know, trying to avoid (pulls). It’s smart.”

    OK, King says the offensive numbers are inflated. But when Dilon gets to 11,000 yards, he’ll become the 15th man to do it. Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, John Riggins and O.J. Simpson are in the Hall. Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk will be. Thurman Thomas probably.

    Throw in the fact that two of his games with Cincinnati rank in the top nine of all-time. His 278-yarder, now second, broke Walter Payton’s 23-year-old record. His 246-yarder against the Oilers broke Jim Brown’s 40-year-old rookie record.

    And, the obstacle that Ludwig always faces when presenting for Bengals such as Ken Anderson and Ken Riley, Dillon has a Super Bowl ring. Here’s a number Ludwig can trot out. The Pats are 25-5 in the games Dillon has played for them, 1-4 when he doesn’t.

    “Winning a Super Bowl is probably given too much weight, but Corey has done that,” Ludwig said. “I don’t know what else he has to do.”

    Probably campaign, but he won’t do that. He probably won’t even get cheered Sunday.

    “They might boo him because you paint a bad picture of him,” Houshmandzadeh said to the corps of reporters that fought its battles with Dillon. “Some his fault, some not his fault.”

    But, there is no faulting the numbers.
    Very interesting question. I haven't really thought about it till now, but he does have the numbers. This might be another case of a great player being victimized by playing on bad teams. All hatred for what he did at the end of his career here in Cincinnati aside, what do you think? Does the success of the team he played on affect his chances?

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    15 game winner Danny Serafini's Avatar
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Dillon is one of those guys who will show up on the initial ballot with 60-some players on it every year, but I don't think he'll get beyond that point.

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    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    No way...no how.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blimpie View Post
    No way...no how.
    Why not. He has the numbers. Not saying I disagree, I just want to know why you don't think he does.

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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    I don't think he was ever considered an elite player in the league. He had some very good seasons, but I just don't see him in the same light as other great RB's. Like Peter King said, "It's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good." Corey Dillon is / was a very good RB. Sure, he's got the yardage numbers, but he wasn't ever truly mentioned as "the most dominating RB in the league" in any year I can remember.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    He's about to pas Ricky Watters?? Considering he doesn't have a shot, I'd say Dillon is a borderline case at best.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeeinRed View Post
    Why not. He has the numbers. Not saying I disagree, I just want to know why you don't think he does.
    I guess it depends upon which numbers are you talking about...HOF voting is very subjective.

    Yes, he has 10,000+ yards rushing. But so does Ricky Watters, Eddie George and Ottis Anderson. Are they also HOFers?

    Yes, he has 70+ rushing TDs. But if that were the watershed mark, then Pete Johnson would also be in the HOF.

    In my opinion, the swing votes usually go to players that play for teams that win in the playoffs. Dillon has one ring which might help him.

    Personally, I don't think he makes it.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blimpie View Post
    I guess it depends upon which numbers are you talking about...HOF voting is very subjective.

    Yes, he has 10,000+ yards rushing. But so does Ricky Watters, Eddie George and Ottis Anderson. Are they also HOFS?

    Yes, he has 70+ rushing TDs. But if that were the watershed mark, then Pete Johnson would also be in the HOF.

    In my opinion, the swing votes usually go to players that play for teams that win in the playoffs. Dillon has one ring which might help him.

    Personally, I don't think he makes it.
    I also look at it like this. Has he really impacted the Patriots? He hasn't stood out on a good team. That is why he doesn't get the nod IMO. He is a role player, not an impact player. I agree, football HOF voting isn't based only on numbers. I don't think he gets in, but he does deserve consideration.

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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeeinRed View Post
    I also look at it like this. Has he really impacted the Patriots? He hasn't stood out on a good team. That is why he doesn't get the nod IMO. He is a role player, not an impact player. I agree, football HOF voting isn't based only on numbers. I don't think he gets in, but he does deserve consideration.
    He set the Patriots single-season rushing record in 2004 with 1635 yards. The Pats won the Super Bowl that season. I'd say he had an impact.

    But I agree he's not a Hall of Famer.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    He set the Patriots single-season rushing record in 2004 with 1635 yards. The Pats won the Super Bowl that season. I'd say he had an impact.

    But I agree he's not a Hall of Famer.

    By impact, I mean the kind of guy who can throw a team on his back. Maybe its because I'm not in the New England TV market, but I haven't really heard of Dillon changing a whole lot of games. No doubt he had that ability earlier in his career, but he was on some bad teams. He can help a good team though. He's a great player, but not the kind of guy you say could carry a team. I don't think he is considered a "special" player. Impact player was a bad choice of words on my part. I apologize.

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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    He set the Patriots single-season rushing record in 2004 with 1635 yards. The Pats won the Super Bowl that season. I'd say he had an impact.

    But I agree he's not a Hall of Famer.
    Footstool, YOU could have broken the Patriots single-season rushing record before Dillon arrived.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    He set the Patriots single-season rushing record in 2004 with 1635 yards.
    I think that kind of says it all. If Dillon has played for better teams in his career, behind better offensive lines, I don't think we'd even need a debate. I don't think he deserves to get in, but it's not entirely his fault. The teams he played on for most of his career are partially to blame for his numbers being lower than what they could have been.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blimpie View Post
    Footstool, YOU could have broken the Patriots single-season rushing record before Dillon arrived.
    Nah, I'm more of a pass-catching, 3rd down scat back.

    Curtis Martin was the previous record holder with 1487. That's not too shabby.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    I definately think he's a HOFer. The back of his football card doesn't lie. If he doesn't get in it'll just be because he's not a "nice guy" in some people's minds. Bogus, if you ask me, but reality.
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    Re: Does Corey Dillon Belong In the HOF?

    Quote Originally Posted by max venable View Post
    I definately think he's a HOFer. The back of his football card doesn't lie. If he doesn't get in it'll just be because he's not a "nice guy" in some people's minds. Bogus, if you ask me, but reality.
    I don't think Dillon misses because he wasn't a likeable cat, the NFL is chock full of sociopaths and felons.

    If he doesn't make it, I think it will because 10,000 rushing yards ain't what it used to be anymore.
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