Ocho Cinco says McNabb helped him put his team first

Updated: November 13, 2008, 2:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Chad Ocho Cinco is crediting Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb with helping him adjust his attitude at the start of training camp.

Chad Ocho Cinco

Ocho Cinco

Donovan McNabb


Ocho Cinco, who had spent the offseason criticizing the Bengals and broadly hinting to the media that he would appreciate a trade out of Cincinnati, said McNabb helped convince him to put his teammates first and forget about his personal disappointments, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Ocho Cinco, calling McNabb a close friend, said McNabb reminded him that while he might feel miserable, millions of people would gladly trade places with him.

"I blew his phone up," Ocho Cinco said Wednesday, according to the Inquirer. "Donovan was a big influence. [He] really is one of the reasons why I really turned myself around and looked at my situation as more of a positive outlook and just thinking about all the people that would love to play this game, you know?
Johnson turning a new leaf?

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Chad Johnson is done being negative and despite the Bengals 1-8 record the team remains upbeat.

"He took me in that direction, instead of thinking about, 'Oh, I'm tired of losing and I don't want to be here anymore,' but just thinking about, 'Man, a lot of people wish they were in your shoes just to have the ability to play in the NFL.' That kind of turned me around, and that's why I've been as positive as I have been this year, and even though we're losing, man, I've just been plugging away."

McNabb was not alone in helping Ocho Cinco get focused on football. Earlier this season, Ray Lewis said he also counseled Ocho Cinco spiritually.

"What I told him is just whatever you have going on, think of God," Lewis told reporters at the time. "Let God deal with that. Just understand that you're a role model for so many people. So many young kids want to be in the position you're in. They want to follow Chad Johnson."

At the time -- before Ocho Cinco had changed his name from Chad Johnson -- Lewis said his friendship outweighed the fact he was a key player on a division rival.

"You don't care about wins and losses when it comes down to brotherhood and competition," Lewis said. "That's why I love when we play against Chad Johnson and play against those guys like that, because you're going to get their best, and that's why you play the game."