CoreyFest rolls on

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The Bengals continued to celebrate CoreyFest 278 Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Dillon, who broke Walter Payton's NFL single-game rushing record last Sunday with 278 yards, unveiled the display of his jersey, pants and shoes, that will reside in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

An emotional Dick LeBeau also presented Dillon with a memento from Bengals President Mike Brown. LeBeau gave Dillon a plaque bearing the "What A Rush," front page of Monday's sports section of "The Cincinnati Enquirer," and said it was the happiest thing he's done in his 31 days as head coach.

Dillon's uniform goes to the Hall's Pro Football Today room, but the Bengals have given him a start on "my own little shrine room.

"It's the best gift I've had in a long time," said Dillon, who hugged LeBeau. "It's very special. I'm honored to have it. I'm not surprised. For an accomplishment like this, they did what was right and I'm pleased to get it."

Joe Horrigan, who heads the Hall's exhibits, didn't have to wait as long to get Dillon's uniform as he has for others. When Payton set the NFL's all-time rushing record Oct. 7, 1984, the superstitious Payton wouldn't give it up until after the season.

Dillon acknowledged he has some superstitions (a wrist band on his left ankle for example), but he didn't have much time to think after Sunday's game. Equipment managers Rob Recker and Jeff Brickner knew Canton would come calling and got the goods right away. . .

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"These are memories are the highlights of my career and they'll stick with me until my resting day," Dillon said.

Dillon owns two of the six biggest rushing games in history and two of the Hall's displays.

O.J. Simpson has two of those games and Horrigan has Simpson's jersey from the game he became the first rusher to gain 2,000 yards in a season. Dillon still can't believe he broke Jimmy Brown's rookie single-game rushing record. But his jersey will be in the same building that has Brown's 43-year-old No. 32 from his rookie season.

"Those are some of the best running backs to ever play the game," Dillon said. "It's funny my name is mentioned with them, but clearly I'm not at the caliber they were. I hope to be. As far as right now, I'm not even in their league. It's something I want to work on. I want to be with them when my career is said and done."

Even Dillon's peers are awed. He took a phone call this week from Falcons running back Jamal Anderson and Anderson told him the record is all he's been able to talk about.

To get a call from a fellow NFL running back clearly moved him. But even as Dillon savored the last bits of CoreyFest, Sunday's game against the Brows loomed.

"He's given us a big lift. A big lift for everyone down here," Mike Brown said after attending the presentation. "But it won't amount to much by this Sunday.

"What matters isn't the memorabilia, but the memory," Brown said. "He did it. No one can take it away from him. That's what's important. I think he's handled the whole thing great. His remarks today hit just the right note."

Dillon has never been to the Hall to see his jersey from the Jim Brown game. But he will now.

"I'll go up there with my family, see what it's all about," Dillon said. "I've heard from people who have been up there. They say it's a great atmosphere and a great place and after the season I will get an opportunity to get up there."

He'll be close this Sunday in Cleveland. Not much more than 278 yards away.

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