Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco still isn’t talking to the media (a smart decision, in my view), but Coach C gives an update to the team’s official site. The Ocho is “in his best shape since 2005,” reports Charles Collins, and looks to continue working out in California for the next two weeks, before reporting to the Bengals’ mandatory minicamp June 18-20.
Collins also insists Ochocinco still has the passion to play and understands that at age 31 he can’t do what he did to his body last offseason and let it go.
“To go from one of the top five receivers in the league to 65 in the league hurt him,” Collins said. “He felt that, and he wants to get back. I told him he had to get back and do the things he was doing before Ochocinco and all that other crap.”
But that still doesn’t solve the timing issues with his quarterback and a playbook that underwent a lot of fine tuning during the offseason. But Collins says he’s “80-90 percent back” to his peak form. The ankle that bothered him all last offseason and the one waited to have scoped just before training camp looks to be fully healed.
“He’s able to stick his foot in the ground and go. From what I can see he’s got that great first step back,” Collins said. “I think what he needs to do is get back to some of the techniques and work on the fundaments that he got away from. A lot of it is the mental part of it. But I think he’s getting ready to have a really good year. He’s getting in and out his breaks and he’s working on catching the long ball. His times in the 40 show he’s strong and has got endurance.”
QB Carson Palmer, talking to KLAC radio, said that he’d welcome the return of a Chad who’s “in great shape and ready to play.”
Getting in to the whole Chad Johnson subject…you just blew that whole thing about Chad out of proportion. You read it in the blogs, I never said anything about how we don’t need him. You read it on the blogs, it didn’t come from my mouth, it came from somebody else’s interpreting it. I said, he hasn’t been here because he doesn’t want to be here – he said that. And, he’s a damn good receiver, that’s obvious. Anyone can see that. But, the guys that are working here and busting their butt here working hard deserve a shot. When he shows up here, he’ll show up, and hopefully he’s in great shape and ready to play. But I never once said anything about not wanting him here or not wanting him. He’s a Pro Bowl wide receiver, he’s put up a ton of yards, he’s extremely dangerous to cover. We would love him.
Pointing to how former Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh skipped the team’s offseason program, but still contributed once the season started, ESPNs James Walker believes that any talk of a Chad-Carson rift will blow over quickly if Ocho is in shape-o.
Let’s be honest about the situation: Ochocinco hasn’t missed anything mandatory. If this was someone else, it wouldn’t be as big a deal. Former teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh skipped voluntary workouts in Cincinnati all the time when he was unhappy with his contract. But Houshmandzadeh showed up in great shape every year, put up 90- and 100-catch seasons and no harm was done. If Ochocinco shows up in good shape and has a great season, this all could blow over quickly.
It seems to me that the danger of Chad arriving in Cincinnati or Georgetown only to become a cancer and/or distraction is dropping by the day. The real question now appears to be, how fast can the former Chad Johnson come up to speed on the updated offense and get into sync with Palmer? The sooner that happens, the better chance that Muckraker Mike has of being right: