Ocho Cinco returns to Bengals practice; Lewis says player will be fined
Coach Marvin Lewis wanted to move on from the latest Bengals controversy, and after the team fell to 1-9-1. The latest loss Thursday night against the Steelers was a 27-10 defeat in which the Bengals managed just 208 yards of offense.
Lewis said the punishment fit the violation, and declined to go into details of the incident. Ocho Cinco was late for a team meeting Wednesday night, and then had a verbal altercation with a coach or coaches.
"I think, yeah, any time a player has a thing that occurs like that, you let your teammates down," Lewis said Friday. "I think any time that you have to sit a player down, it sends a message to players, because that's the only thing they get and understand."
He said losing playing time often gets players' attention more than losing money, although Lewis said Ocho Cinco will be fined an undisclosed sum.
"That's their livelihood, that's how they extend themselves, that's what they do and that's important to them. So when you take away playing time, that's the loudest voice they hear," Lewis said.
Lewis said he expects Ocho Cinco to playing against Baltimore on Nov. 30, the Bengals' next game.
Ocho Cinco, who changed his name earlier this year from Chad Johnson, was gone from the team's facilities by the time they were opened to reporters Friday afternoon. He received treatment for a sore knee.
"It was normal, it was nothing different," wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said of Friday's team activities.
"He didn't let me down. ... Like I said, we're 1-8-1 with him, so we're 0-1 without him," he said of Ocho Cinco.
Thursday was the first time since Nov. 18, 2001 -- a string of 113 straight games -- that Ocho Cinco did not play in a Bengals' game.
He is the franchise's career leader with 600 receptions and 8,748 yards receiving, but is having his worst season since his rookie year of 2001. He has 41 catches, 383 yards and four touchdowns. He has not caught a pass for more than 22 yards all season.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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