Ocho Cinco says no lesson learned from benching
CINCINNATI -- Asked if he has learned anything from his benching for a verbal altercation with a Cincinnati Bengals coach, receiver Chad Ocho Cinco thought for a few seconds before barely smiling and giving a one-word answer.
"No," he said, then tried to move on.
Coach Marvin Lewis is trying to move on, too.
Lewis sent the Pro Bowl receiver home before a game in Pittsburgh last Thursday after he showed up late for a team meeting, exchanged words with a coach and then left the meeting. The receiver was back in Cincinnati while the Bengals lost to the Steelers 27-10.
Ocho Cinco talked about the punishment for the first time Wednesday, declining to go into detail about what happened while acknowledging that the one-game benching was merited. The receiver expects to play Sunday against Baltimore if he's healthy.
"I put [Lewis] in a tough position, and he made a call he had to make," Ocho Cinco said. "It is what it is.
"I didn't get a chance to play. My dad [Lewis] deactivated me, punishment for his son. Other than that, I'm back this week, ready to have some fun against some very good friends of mine. I'm looking forward to spoiling their playoff chances or whatever we have the chance to spoil."
Lewis also has declined to talk about the incident, other than to acknowledge that Ocho Cinco was deactivated for the game and sent home because of it. If the receiver's sore right knee allows -- and if he stays out of trouble the rest of the week -- he'll play against Baltimore (7-4).
"I think he'll be good," Lewis said. "If he's healthy and he goes through the week and we feel like he's our best, he'll get an opportunity. If he does things correctly, as he has in the past, he ought to play Sunday."
The receiver's conduct last week was a reminder of his strained relationship with the team, which refused his trade demands in the offseason. Ocho Cinco backed off his threats to sit out and has been low-profile most of the season: no touchdown celebrations, no sideline theatrics, no trash talk leading up to games.
His numbers are pretty quiet, too. He has 41 catches for only 383 yards and four touchdowns. His longest reception went for 22 yards.
"You don't get the same fiery Chad? No," he said. "I came in quiet and focused and have tried not to be a distraction all year. I have done that very well, except for the little altercation where I left the meeting early. That was about it."
It's too early to tell whether the latest problem will sway owner Mike Brown to consider dealing the receiver, who is under contract for two more seasons. The Bengals (1-9-1) rank last in the NFL in total offense, and some players are expecting an overhaul. Pro Bowl receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a free agent after the season, but the Bengals could use their franchise tag to keep him.
Ocho Cinco expects to be around for the rest of his contract, which runs out a few months after Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James is eligible to become a free agent as well.
"When LeBron is out [of Cleveland), I'm out, too?" Ocho Cinco said. "I don't have a choice. I'm here to 2010."
He doesn't plan to publicly lobby for a trade again in the offseason.
"I'm not going to pull that [stuff] again," Ocho Cinco said. "I'm going to fade away. I'll be in London and Africa the entire offseason -- Kenya. You won't have a chance to hear my mouth unless it's coming from all the way over there."
His focus this week is figuring out how well he can play with a sore right knee, which started bothering him last week in practice. He said he might not have been available to play against the Steelers because of it.
"I think the rest, even though it wasn't a good thing, might have been good for me," he said. "I don't know what I did to the knee. It hurts."
Ocho Cinco went through a full practice on Wednesday and wasn't listed on the team's injury report.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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