2-12-02, 5:30 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Six Bengals are headed to NFL Europe next month and they can only hope that one pans out like JoJuan Armour.
On Tuesday, the league allocated cornerback Bo Jennings to the Amsterdam Admirals with the rest ticketed to the Barcelona Dragons, the team which Armour helped to last year's World Bowl before coming back to Cincinnati to start 11 of the last 12 games at strong safety.
The Dragons drafted wide receiver Khori Ivy and got allocated defensive tackles Mario Monds and Randy Chevrier (mainly a long snapper), center Ray Redziniak, and linebacker Riall Johnson.
"Going to Europe was probably the best thing that ever happened to JoJuan as a football player," said Jim Lippincott,
the Bengals' director of pro/college personnel. "He went over there as a linebacker looking to get more snaps in a position switch and he ended up establishing himself as a starter in the NFL."
The Bengals don't know who is going to be the Armour out of this crop, but Lippincott told the Barcelona coaches that Monds has a chance at being one of the best defensive tackles in Europe, "if he approaches it right." The 6-3, 325-pound Monds, a University of Cincinnati product drafted last year by Washington in the sixth round, played in two games when the Bengals picked him up following his release from the Redskins just before the season.
The Bengals requested that Johnson, their own sixth-round pick, be used as a inside linebacker after learning to play the outside in Cincinnati last year. The Bengals have exposed Johnson to next week's expansion draft.
The Bengals are also hoping that Redziniak, a guard-center, plays center with the Dragons.
THE CLOSER:** Running back Corey Dillon is expected back from the Pro Bowl Thursday and plans to set up an appointment to have routine arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee. He looked ready to score the Bengals' first offensive touchdown ever in the Pro Bowl during Saturday's
fourth quarter, but he slipped on the Astroturf and went down with nobody touching him for a 16-yard gain.
"I think I only had (Redskins cornerback) Champ Bailey to beat," Dillon said Tuesday. "That would have been interesting. I thought I had it, but the turf tackled me."
Dillon was pleased with the best of his three Pro Bowl outings, finishing as the game's second-leading rusher with six carries for 58 yards. He got 53 of them on one drive late in the game that resulted in Jason Elam's 38 yard field goal that gave the AFC some breathing room at 31-23. in its 38-30 win over the NFC.
"I figured I was going to be the closer," Dillon said. "With me replacing Jerome (Bettis), I figured I'd play only a little bit in the first half and then I'd finish it off. I wanted to get us some points because they were coming back and I got it down there for the field goal. Then Ty Law and Ray Lewis took care of the rest."
Law, the cornerback from the Patriots, and Lewis, the middle linebacker from the Ravens, teamed to get the AFC's last touchdown on Law's interception and lateral to Lewis.
Dillon suffered what he called a slight sprain high on his right calf and will also get that checked out Thursday.
"Really, it was nothing. It's hardly anything at all," Dillon said. "I've been walking around on it for two days and it barely hurts. We're still out here and we're planning to walk around downtown today. All I have to do is get the knee cleaned out and I'm ready to roll."