Before news of the rape allegations against Antonio Brown broke, the star wide receiver was considered the latest and greatest of the Patriots’ reclamation project.
The wide receiver drew comparisons to Randy Moss, who also came to New England via the Oakland Raiders after a two-year rocky tenure in the Bay Area. The Patriots have made a habit of taking a flyer on talented players with disgruntled pasts, and many people point to Corey Dillon as the first “project” the team took on.
Dillon demanded a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals in 2004 and landed in New England, going on to post 1,635 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns to help lead the team to a Super Bowl championship. But the running back, who retired in 2006, resents the label put on him and the comparisons it drew to Brown’s arrival in New England.
He addressed the issue in a recent Q&A with The Athletic’s Jay Morrison
“But I just find it kind of curious every time the Patriots do something, or bring a guy in, my name comes up like I was a bad guy. I’m trying to set that straight.
“First of all, if you go back in time, look who I played for at the time. Are you kidding me? People want to say I was the bad guy in that situation? No. That’s not the case. It comes down to we play this football game to actually win football games. That’s what you play for. I don’t know what was on everybody else’s agenda.
“Me personally, I was never a “me” guy, worried about somebody else’s money, worried about getting paid. My main objective was to win football games and my ultimate goal was to win a championship. That’s what I was in the game for. That was my passion. And if you check, go ask former teammates in Cincinnati, I wasn’t a bad guy in the locker room. My whole thing was, “Hey, listen, I’m tired of losing.” And to sum that up and put it in a corporate America, hypothetical situation, if you had a job where you feel you’re going nowhere and you have an opportunity to better yourself and better your career in a different situation, you’re not going to take that opportunity? But I do it and I’m a cancer. I’m a bad guy. I don’t know how people think that. I don’t get it.”
Even before news of Brown’s rape allegation came to light, Dillon was trying to distance himself from the comparison, and you could hardly blame him. The lawsuit against Brown certainly changes the how the pickup is viewed as well.
As for the Patriots newest problem child, Bill Belichick got into a testy back-and-forth over questions the wide receiver’s lawsuit. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden couldn’t be happier to be done with the whole situation.