1-2-02, 11:30 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
For the first time in three years, no Bengal has been selected to the Pro Bowl. But some may still play in the game next month in Hawaii as alternates because of injuries or other circumstances.
The NFL, which doesn't release names of alternates, plans to announce the AFC and NFC rosters later Wednesday.
One Bengals' alternate figures to be running back Corey Dillon, not selected for the first time in two years despite the second-best rushing total of his career with 1,228 yards along with career-bests of 318 carries, 11 touchdowns, and 31 catches heading into Sunday's finale in Tennessee.
One vote that did come through Wednesday for the Bengals came in for quarterback Jon Kitna, named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after the first 400-yard passing game of his career in the 26-23 overtime win over the Steelers.
The Bengals' running game did struggle during the seven-game losing streak, a stretch when Dillon tied his longest drought ever with six straight games without 100 yards. At 3.9 yards per carry, he's also in danger of finishing a season with less than four yards per carry for the first time in his life.
But he did have some big days. His 96-yard run against Detroit is the longest in club history and was part of
his best-ever road game with 184 yards. Two weeks ago in Baltimore, he became the first back in 50 games to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens. Against Tampa Bay, his six-yard catch-and-crunch at the goal line tied the game with eight seconds left in regulation before the Bengals lost in overtime when Dillon fumbled on the Cincinnati 3.
The three AFC running backs figure to be the top two NFL rushing leaders, Curtis Martin of the Jets and Priest Holmes of the Chiefs, as well as Steelers running back Jerome Bettis even though he has missed the last month with an injured groin.
Dillon was the only Bengal to finish in the top five in fan voting when he came in fourth behind Bettis, Martin and San Diego rookie LaDainian Tomlinson.
Tackles Richmond Webb and Willie Anderson, at seven and eight respectively, were the only other Bengals to get top 10 recognition from the fans.