BY GEOFF HOBSON
When Bengals running back Corey Dillon heard of the death of Cincinnati police officer Kevin Crayon last weekend, he couldn't get it out of his head. So he decided to donate $1,000 and his No. 28 jersey. The money is headed to a Provident Bank fund for the fallen policeman's children. The jersey, provided by Bengals equipment manager Rob Recker, is headed to radio station Q102 for an auction producing money for the fund.
"There's no compensation for the loss of a loved one," Dillon said after practice today. "He left behind three children and being a father myself, if something ever happened to me, God forbid, I would want people to remember my kids."
Dillon and Recker put their heads together and came up with the plan. Just last week, Dillon was charged with fourth-degree assault, a charge he denies, but the two incidents are unrelated in Dillon's mind.
"During the bye (this past weekend), I spent a lot of time watching the news," Dillon said. "I'm not doing it to boost my image. I don't need to do that. I did it pretty much as a father. It's a tragedy. I just thought if I could do something to help, why not? They're looking to get something like $20,000, so I hope this kick starts it."
Donations to the Crayon memorial fund can be made at area Provdent Banks.
GOOD-BYE SPINNEY:** Spinney Field is officially out of Bengaldom at 10 a.m. Friday, when the Bengals donate $500,000 and their old practice facility in Lower Price Hill to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn is to make the presentation at a news conference with Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken, Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus, CRC director Wayne Bain and CRC president Dan Gilday. The CRC plans to use Spinney for a variety of recreation purposes.
LEVINE PACKAGE:** When the Bengals go into one of their pass defenses, agent David Levine has five players on the field in nose tackle Oliver Gibson, defensive end Reinard Wilson, cornerback Rodney Heath and safeties Darryl Williams and Tremain Mack. He made Mack a happy man today when his client signed a one-year extension in which he gets $200,000 up front and a $475,000 salary next season. Levine said incentives could take the package to $1 million if he plays a lot of safety.
It was a big week for Mack, 25, a fourth-year player who was voted co-captain of special teams after a Pro Bowl season as a kick returner. Levine has seen alcohol erase his client as a certain first-round pick and land him in jail last year for five months after a second DUI with the Bengals capped a series of alcohol-related offenses in three states. But now Mack's comeback has been as gratifying as his fall was devastating.
"I don't like to talk about the past because that's where I want to keep it," Mack said.
Levine said counselors check in with him, but he's no longer in the NFL's rehab program. It's believed Mack is tested 10 times per month for alcohol use, the NFL maximum, with as little as four hours notice.
"Not much gets Tremain excited," Levine said. "But you could tell he was really excited about being named captain. He'd like to play his whole career there. Not many teams would have stuck by him like the Bengals did."
The Bengals and Levine did discuss extending Gibson's deal, but those talks won't happen until after the season. Gibson, arguably the most productive free agent the Bengals have ever signed, will then be headed into the final year of a three-year deal.
Gibson and Wilson have a competition going for who gets the most sacks this season. Gibson won't say if it's a bet and Levine said, "I just hope they both get double digits because they'll become rich men."
PREP NIGHT:** Bengals officials expect to finalize a deal that will make the Highlands-Elder matchup on Sept. 16, the first high school game in Paul Brown Stadium. The 7:30 p.m. game is attractive to the club because it's on a Saturday night in which the Reds aren't in town. A crowd of 30,000 is expected, which is about the minimum a PBS game could draw. The club think its temporary grass is holding up well.
"It's something we can't do every weekend," said Troy Blackburn, the club's director of business development. "But it's a good week to have a high school event in there. We think the grass is in pretty good shape."