Dillon wants out of Cincinnati

Updated: October 22, 2003, 8:07 PM ET

CINCINNATI -- Corey Dillon feels unappreciated in Cincinnati and thinks he'd be better off somewhere else.

The disgruntled running back vented weeks of frustration Wednesday, turning the attention on himself as the Bengals (2-4) prepared for a pivotal game. He made it clear he wants out.

After watching practice from the sideline with a strained groin, Dillon told reporters he hasn't gotten the ball enough in recent years, even when he's been healthy. He also said he's tired of his treatment by fans and the media, who have started questioning his durability.

"I would prefer to be in a place where I'm appreciated," Dillon said. "It could be anywhere. Who knows? I'm just going to get to a place where I'm happy and I feel appreciated and they recognize my talents and I can achieve my goals.

"Wherever that may be, I don't know. But that's the first thing on my offseason list."

Dillon's comments represented the biggest challenge yet to first-year coach Marvin Lewis, who has been trying to get his most accomplished player to buy into his team-first philosophy.

Dillon skipped the first voluntary minicamp under Lewis, and was the only regular to show up late for training camp. Lewis has urged him to talk to the media regularly, but has been rebuffed.

By venting his frustrations, Dillon violated his coach's insistence on keeping team matters private. Lewis said he won't punish Dillon for his remarks, which he shrugged off as nothing more than a spat between a player and the media.

"What Corey feels like is he's not been treated very fairly by the media," Lewis said, coming off the field after practice. "He's disappointed. He feels he doesn't get a fair shake, no matter what he does.

"He came and talked to me yesterday. Everything's good. Sorry it's alarming. But it ain't us, it's you guys."

Dillon said it goes beyond his relationship with the media.

"You guys ain't my only problem, believe me," Dillon said. "Coach is being coach."

His outburst came at a bad time for the Bengals, who got some momentum with a 34-26 victory over Baltimore last Sunday. The biggest win in Lewis' first season put them back in contention in the weak AFC North heading into another home game against Seattle.

Dillon turned the spotlight on himself when he walked into the locker room Wednesday afternoon while reporters were talking to his teammates about the upcoming game.

"I want out," Dillon said aloud. "Trade me to Dallas."

Dillon later said he was joking about Dallas -- the trading deadline was Oct. 14 -- but not about his desire for change. He has two years left on his contract.

"I'm telling you, ain't nothing permanent, ain't nothing concrete," Dillon said. "You sign a contract with your wife -- you can get rid of her, can't you? And that's a lifetime contract. What I'm basically trying to say is, ain't nothing permanent, ain't nothing sketched in stone. There's ways out of anything."

During his seven-year career, Dillon has repeatedly groused that he doesn't get the ball enough. Dillon is one of only four players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons.

He has been limited this season by a hyperextended knee and a strained groin, which caused him to sit out one game and most of two others. Coming into this season, Dillon's 969 carries over the last three seasons were the second-highest total in the league, trailing only Eddie George.

It's not been enough to keep him satisfied.

"I'm going to get to a place where I'm comfortable and they understand my talent and they recognize what I bring to the table," Dillon said. "In order to compete with the big boys in this game, the big boys are getting it 25 to 30 times. I'm not going to be able to compete 14 times a game. That's being realistic."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index