3-26-01, 4:45 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
PALM DESERT, Calif. _ No one expects much to happen at this week's NFL annual league meeting. Except suntans and a little traffic on Frank Sinatra Drive.
But the Bengals hope to get something done Monday in arranging a face-to-face here with agent David Dunn on the first day of the meetings.
Not only is Dunn the agent for former Vikings left tackle Todd Steussie, but he also represents Bengals Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon. The Bengals hope to move along talks with Steussie, as well as start talking about a long-term deal for Dillon.
Steussie's major suitor besides the Bengals is Denver. But none has emerged yet publicly for Dillon, a free-agent after a season he set the NFL's single-game rushing record and the Bengals' season rushing record.
Dunn indicated Monday he's open to the sides meeting at some point this week to discuss both players. The Bengals have been trying to start a dialogue on Dillon, but his status is complicated because of the transition tag that allows the Bengals to match any offer.
The reason not much is expected out of this meeting, save for discussions about realignment, is because of the $1 billion lawsuit Raiders managing general partner Al Davis has brought against the NFL revolving around the Los Angeles-Oakland quagmire.
In fact, the buzz around the hotel lobby Sunday was many owners don't even plan to attend this week's festivities that run through Wednesday. Bengals President Mike Brown wasn't aware of any large number of owners who won't show, but the effect of the trial is concrete.
"A lawsuit is a paralyzing episode that requires the attention of the commissioner and his staff," Brown said. "They have to neglect everything else. I think that's why our meeting has been diluted to a much smaller agenda."
But top on the Bengals' agenda remains re-signing Dillon and signing Steussie. Ironically, Dunn, along with Leigh Steinberg, represents Texas left tackle Leonard Davis. If the Bengals can't sign Steussie, Davis is one of the players that would fit the Bengals at the fourth pick. If they chose Davis, that would mean four of the Bengals' last eight No. 1 picks have been represented by Dunn and Steinberg.