Corey Dillon

Corey Dillon on Antonio Brown situation: 'Everybody should take a step back'

Corey Dillon on Antonio Brown situation: 'Everybody should take a step back'

Amid the sexual assault and rape allegations against Antonio Brown, there's some debate as to whether the Patriots should allow the wide receiver to play in Sunday's game vs. the Dolphins.

The NFL reportedly won't discipline Brown by placing him on the commissioner's exempt list, so the decision of playing or benching the seven-time Pro Bowler will be head coach Bill Belichick's to make.

For ex-Patriots running back Corey Dillon, that decision is an easy one. Appearing Friday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria," Dillon shared his thoughts on how the Pats should approach the situation.

“Everybody should take a step back. I mean, presume he’s innocent until proven guilty, right?” Dillon said. “Listen, I’m not casting him out or throwing stones at him. He’s innocent until proven guilty. So let him play. That’s obvious.”

Dillon, a key contributor to the Patriots' Super Bowl 39 title run, also criticized the NFL's historically questionable handling of off-field issues.

“It’s like they’re their own court of law," Dillon said. "Say, for instance, somebody gets in trouble, they have their day in court and they’re found not guilty. Where they coming off doing something different than what was already ruled in the court of law. I don’t understand that.

“If the guy goes to court, he’s found not guilty there shouldn’t be [any] punishment whatsoever. But if he goes to court and he’s found guilty, all right, do what you got to do.”

As of now, all signs point toward Brown making his Patriots debut on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The 31-year-old was a full participant in practice throughout the week, even connecting with Tom Brady on a sweet touchdown grab.

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Corey Dillon tired of Antonio Brown comparisons: 'I was a good teammate'

Corey Dillon tired of Antonio Brown comparisons: 'I was a good teammate'

When controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown signed with the Patriots, it invoked memories of Randy Moss and Corey Dillon coming to New England.

Dillon doesn't believe those comparisons are fair.

Before joining the Patriots in 2003, the running back often vocalized his displeasure with the Bengals organization and the team's struggles. At one point, Dillon even called out owner Mike Brown by saying, "we will never win with the Brown family in Cincinnati."

Outside of voicing his frustrations with losing, Dillon's record was clean. He wasn't nearly the controversial figure Brown has been and continues to be.

In an interview with Jay Morrison of The Athletic, Dillon discussed his disdain for being brought up as an example of players the Patriots have "fixed."

"They said the same about Rodney (Harrison). They said the same thing about Randy (Moss). They said the same thing about me," Dillon told The Athletic. "But you go down to Gillette Stadium, and you go in that building and ask the staff and the owners and the coaches and players about any one of us, they’d be the first one to tell you, “Oh, man, those guys were great teammates.” And I’m still in contact with a lot of the players I played with in Cincinnati.

"We talk. We chop it up. I think people got it wrong. I was a good teammate. It was just that me and management didn’t see eye to eye back then. So when these stories pop up about another player going to the Patriots, my name is one of the first ones they slap up there. Like I was some science project. Nah, buddy. It didn’t go down like that."

Needless to say, all of Dillon's complaints about losing came to an end when he became a Patriot. The four-time Pro Bowler rushed for 3,180 yards and 37 touchdowns during his three seasons in New England and was a huge contributor en route the team's Super Bowl 39 title.

While Dillon doesn't appreciate being lumped into the conversation with Brown, he hopes joining the Patriots will be just what the doctor ordered for the star wideout.

"The thing about AB, I’m praying for my brother," Dillon said. "I wish him well. It’s a perfect setup. All he has to do is go catch the football. All he has to do is show up and play and catch the football, and trust me, he will be knocking on a Super Bowl. It’s as easy as that. I’m happy for him. I’ll be watching that."

It remains to be seen how, or even if, Brown will contribute in New England. The 31-year-old was accused of sexual assault and rape in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday, and the NFL has informed the Patriots they will be investigating the matter.

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Great Patriots Debates: Which superstar cameo — Dillon, Moss or Revis — was best?

Great Patriots Debates: Which superstar cameo — Dillon, Moss or Revis — was best?

It's happened time and again. The Patriots identify a player who has established himself as one of the game's best elsewhere, a player who has become available for one reason or another — often it's a combination of the player no longer being in his prime and his relationship with his employer having eroded — and they mobilize.

It happened last year with Josh Gordon. Two years ago it was James Harrison who showed up in Foxboro after a beef with the Steelers. In 2016, the Patriots landed Martellus Bennett in a low-cost trade with the Bears. 

You don't have to be Bill Belichick to discern the value in these moves. The price tags are relatively cheap, and the dividends can be huge if the players re-discover what made them great once they join a new program, under a coach looking to accentuate their skills, with a quarterback who will squeeze what he can out of what's around him.

These players haven't necessarily been acquired with the long-term in mind. But just because their Patriots tenures were short doesn't mean they weren't hugely impactful. Some that have re-written record books. Some that have resulted in the franchise adding to its stack of Lombardis.

In today's Great Patriots Debate, we'll focus in on the most impactful superstar cameos in Patriots history: Between Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Darrelle Revis, which acquisition should be considered the best of the best?

COREY DILLON

Dillon was a punishing runner who made an immediate impact in his first year with Cincinnati, breaking Jim Brown's single-game rushing record for a rookie (246 yards on 39 carries, four touchdowns), and totaling 1,129 yards in the 1997 season. He set the single-game rushing record (278 yards) in 2000, surpassing Walter Payton's mark. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 1999-2001.

In 2003, Dillon was banged up. He started in 11 games after having started all but two regular-season games in the previous five years, and he finished with just 541 yards. (Dillon was declared inactive for one game following a traffic accident.) He wasn't shy about sharing his feelings on his usage, and he openly lobbied for a trade after the season.

Dillon landed in New England in the spring of 2004 for the cost of a second-round pick — the steepest price of any of the three players featured here — and quickly turned around what was the NFL's No. 27 rushing attack in its Super Bowl-winning season the year prior. He ran for a career-high 1,635 yards (on a whopping 4.7 yards per carry), averaging over 100 yards per game, scored 12 times and made his fourth Pro Bowl. That postseason, en route to the team's third title in four years, he ran 65 times for 292 yards in three games, including a 144-yard performance against the Colts in the Divisional Round. 

The following two years saw Dillon deal with injuries as he ran for just over 1,500 yards combined in 2005 and 2006. As he saw his role diminished, he wasn't thrilled. (Check out Tom E. Curran's write-up on Dillon in his Top 50 Patriots of the Belichick Era series for an amusing anecdote involving Heath Evans.) But his one year of dynamite production keeps him in the conversation as one of the best trade acquisitions Belichick ever made.

RANDY MOSS

As bright as Dillon's skills burned in 2004, Moss' return to form — ignited by his pairing with a Hall-of-Fame level passer — was even more dramatic. 

In 2007, the Patriots were coming off a season when they fell one game short of a Super Bowl appearance due in part to their lackluster receiving corps. They overhauled the entire room, adding Wes Welker and Donté Stallworth as well as going after Moss. Having established himself as one of the greatest talents to ever step on a field as a member of the Vikings earlier in his career, Moss hit a low with the Raiders, finishing 2006 with 42 catches, 553 yards and three scores. 

Going into his 30-year-old season, he was available. The Patriots offered up a fourth-rounder, and the deal was done.

Moss responded with one of the best seasons a wideout has ever had: 98 catches for 1,493 yards and a single-season record 23 touchdowns. He almost single-handedly turned around the commonly-held perception on Brady. The quarterback was now more "game-changer" than "game-manager" as he finished that season with a record 50 touchdown passes. 

Though Moss didn't win a ring with the Patriots, he was one of the drivers of their perfect regular season and he caught the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLII. He maintained an upper-tier level of play the following season with Matt Cassel behind center, grabbing 69 passes for 1,008 yards and 11 scores for a team that narrowly missed the postseason. 

In 2009, Moss continued to rack up numbers — he had 83 catches for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns in Brady's return from injury — but he didn't love the contract he'd signed the year prior, and in 2010 he complained openly about not being appreciated. He was traded mid-season to the Vikings.

DARRELLE REVIS

This was a true cameo. One season. Wham. Bam. Super Bowl. Thank you, man. 

The Patriots had just lost No. 1 corner Aqib Talib to the Broncos in free agency when Tampa Bay released Revis prior to the 2014 season. The Bucs, who'd just hired former Patriot executive Jason Licht to be their general manager, tried to trade Revis and his $16 million salary but couldn't. Their loss was New England's gain.

Revis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots, which included a placeholder $20 million option for a second year that helped the Patriots spread Revis' cap hit. It didn't take long before the cover man going into his 29-year-old season showed he still deserved to be in the conversation as the game's top corner.

The Patriots (who also added press corner Brandon Browner that offseason) were allowed to play a more physical, man-heavy style of defense thanks to Revis' addition. He helped lock up players like Greg Jennings, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Golden Tate and Keenan Allen in the regular season. In Super Bowl XLIX, he held Doug Baldwin to one catch — a three-yard touchdown aided by a referee's pick. The following offseason, Revis hit free agency again and signed a monster deal to return to the Jets. 

His time in New England lasted only a year, but it was a Super Bowl-winning year, and he was Belichick's best defensive player. When we're talking superstar Patriots cameos, there's an argument to be made that he's the best there's ever been.

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