Maybe Now We Can Talk About Something Else


Ocho Cinco says that he will report, possibly as early as the June mini.

"In a story he wrote as guest editor of the edition of ESPN the Magazine that hits newsstands Wednesday, Johnson said he will return to the Bengals.“Am I coming back? Of course I am. I told my coaches I’m going to California to act, but the truth is I may come back to the Bengals as early as June,” Johnson writes. “I may be crazy but I’m not stupid.”"

He’s still kvetching, though.

"He has said he is frustrated with the losing climate.“If we want to be like Indy and New England, we have to pay for difference-makers on defense,” Johnson writes for ESPN the Magazine. “Our offense is fine. But if they’re fussing about paying me, a guy among the league’s best, you know damn well the Bengals aren’t (going to) give the defense what it needs. So I just said, `If we aren’t (going to) do what we need to do to win, can I please leave?’ It’s simple. I just told (them): `If y’all won’t change then I have to.’”Johnson is clearly unhappy with the Bengals. He set a single-season franchise record in 2007 with 1,440 receiving yards and has been one of the NFL’s most productive receivers since 2003.“Management told me I had a bad year. I was asked to stop being me. Okay, but how does that work? I am what some people would say is the face of Cincinnati,” he writes.“If I can get out of Cincinnati, the sky’s the limit. What could I do in a place like Philadelphia or Dallas? It would be ridiculous. It’s (going to) be like a whole new me, like Ocho Cinco 2.0. Yeah, I like that. Ocho Cinco 2.0.”"

Update: ESPN’s report adds some more, positive-sounding, quotes:

"Johnson held out hope of a pre-draft trade or a deal with a team like Philadelphia, Dallas or Miami. When nothing materialized by mid-May, Johnson began to consider a different approach, according to his coach and mentor, Charles Collins, who was in Florida to oversee the All-Pro receiver’s offseason workout regime.“Look how well I’ve done while talking every week and calling people out and making things so hard on me with all this attention,” Johnson said. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I could do if I just played and didn’t talk? Things would be a whole lot easier on me. And think of the numbers I could put up. Then what would people say about me?”"

Hmmm. Let’s see. Chad Johnson + focus on game – drama queen act = ???

Could be some good stuff there. Of course, like Marvin, I see better than I hear.

In other news this afternoon, RT Willie Anderson has finally shown up for the voluntary offseason program. Good for him.

Update 2: Some (hopefully) final thoughts on the Ocho Imbroglio below the fold(o).

As I’ve opined before, Chad’s threat to sit out the season was always a hollow one. But there were two ways he could come back — either as Ocho Disrupto, or as a chastened and wiser Ocho Cinco. His comments in ESPN The Magazine, while still critical of the Bengals’ penurious ways, point toward the latter, at least for now. That’s cause for some quiet celebration among Bengals fans. It’s also something of an olive branch to Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown, one that could allow both sides to walk back some heated long-distance exchanges during the offseason. If Chad does indeed return and play hard, he’ll get some respect back, from coaching, management and the fans.

As a practical matter, the return of Chad to anything resembling the team’s good graces means that seventh-round pick Mario Urrutia and undrafted free agent Maurice Purify have virtually no shot at the final roster unless the team keeps more than six wideouts. Both are shoe-ins for the practice squad, however, and if as I believe both Chad and T.J. Houshmanzadeh will be allowed to seek their fortunes after the 2008 season, both will have good shots to make the team in 2009.