Ochocinco readies for better '09

Updated: June 3, 2009, 8:25 AM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco made his first public comments this offseason, saying Tuesday in an interview with the NFL Network that he lost his hunger and was humbled by one of the worst seasons of his career in 2008.

As a result, Ochocinco says he's working extremely hard in Los Angeles, doing various football and boxing drills to get back into Pro Bowl form.

"Last year was very humbling for me; it was an embarrassment," Ochocinco, who intends to return for Cincinnati's mandatory minicamp June 18-20, told the NFL Network. "It's not just for myself, but for the rest of the city and the team. So before I go back, I want to be in just unbelievable form before I even touch the green grass."

Ochocinco, 31, looked crisp doing sparring and running passing routes in the video piece aired Tuesday night on the NFL Network. He received a lot of heat from the Bengals and quarterback Carson Palmer for not taking part in the team's offseason workouts.

Last year, Ochocinco caught just 53 passes for 540 yards as Cincinnati finished 4-11-1. The team made several good moves this offseason and could have another reason to feel optimistic this year if its top receiver proves to be accurate in his personal assessment.

"Words cannot describe the type of shape I'm in right now," Ochocinco told the NFL Network. "Words cannot describe the type of season I'm going to have. I'm telling you ahead of time."

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter