Patriots set up ‘secret meeting’ with Corey Dillon before trading for him in 2004

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Isaiah Houde
·2 min read
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Bill Belichick is known for being extremely thorough in everything he does.

The New England Patriots legend won six Super Bowl titles over the past two decades while juggling the roles of head coach and general manager — with a little bit of defensive coordinator as well. He puts on each hat when necessary and oftentimes relies on his trusted coworkers to ensure a job is done correctly.

Scott Pioli, who spent eight seasons as an executive for the Patriots, was one of those people he put his trust in. On Good Morning Football, Pioli told a backstory to a 2004 road trip that led both him and Belichick to a ‘secret meeting’ with Cincinnati Bengals star Corey Dillon.

The Patriots ended up trading a second-round pick for him and getting three solid seasons — including a Super Bowl win.

“It was about a week before the draft started. It was back in 2004, there was only a two-day draft, it was Saturday and Sunday,” Pioli said. “So about a week before the draft, Belichick and I get in my car and we do a little road trip down to Rocky Hill, Connecticut. At the Residence Inn in Rocky Hill, Connecticut we meet with Corey Dillon and his agent Steve Feldman.

“The Cincinnati Bengals were getting ready to trade him — they wanted to trade him — but Bill and I were in a situation where we wanted to spend time with Corey to make sure that he was going to understand our culture, understand everything that we did. So there we were in this little room in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Feldman, Corey Dillon, Belichick and myself, and we’re having this conversation, trying to get to know Corey a little bit more than what we knew as a football player.”

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Dillon had 345 rushes for 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns that season — with a total of 37 rushing touchdowns over this three-year span with the Patriots.

“I’ll tell you, it was a match made in heaven,” Pioli said. “We left that Residence Inn that day feeling so good about it… That year Corey rushed for 1,600 yards, helped us to win our third Super Bowl in four years. He was a complete game-changer for that football team that year.”

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