New England Patriots running back Corey Dillon appears intent on making 2006 his last season. The 10-year veteran harbored thoughts about retirement just after the conclusion of the Patriots loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship game. Afterwards his representative tried to back away from the comments Dillon made, but the veteran repeated his intent to retire yesterday.
The Boston Globe reported that Dillon was mulling over the future of his professional football career, and that maintaining his health was a big part of his decision. It stated that Dillon intended to ask for his release.
"I think more of my health, how I envision myself 5-10 years down the road," Dillon told the Globe. "I've been blessed and fortunate enough to play 10 years. I can get up and walk around and be comfortable. That's one of the big determining factors."
Dillon talked about entering the league at the same time as Barber and that the wear and tear of the beatings he took from carrying the ball so often took its toll. When Barber retired, the Patriots back thought of doing the same.
The possibility that Dillon may have been a cap casualty was considerable. With roughly a $4 million cap charge, Dillon could have been deemed expendable by the front office. Although his production in crucial short yardage situations had been an asset to the team, his gradual decline in speed may begin to be a liability.
The Patriots have only three backs on the roster who signed through 2007: their first round pick from last year, Laurence Maroney; veteran change of pace back Kevin Faulk, and Quadtrine Hill. Fullbacks Patrick Pass and Heath Evans are slated to become free agents March 2nd unless the team opts to sign them before then.