1-31-02, 3:00 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
NEW ORLEANS _The NFL made it official Thursday and sent Bengals Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon to his third straight Pro Bowl next week in Hawaii.
Dillon, the first alternate at running back on the AFC team selected by fans, players and coaches, earned the trip when the Steelers' Jerome Bettis chose not to play.
Dillon has a health issue as well as Bettis, but plans to have minor arthroscopic knee surgery after the Feb. 9 game. He becomes the first Bengal to go to three straight Pro Bowls since left tackle Anthony Munoz finished his run of 11 straight from 1989-91. James Brooks, with
four, is the only running back in club history who has gone to more Pro Bowls than Dillon.
Dillon moved within 238 yards of Brooks' franchise record 6,447 this past year with his fifth straight 1,100-yard season at 1,315 yards.
He joins the Chiefs' Priest Holmes and the Jets' Curtis Martin in the AFC backfield. Dillon is the ninth Bengal to go to three straight Pro Bowls and the 13th to go to three or more.