Ochocinco decides against 'distraction'

Updated: December 20, 2009, 9:24 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco said he wouldn't mind paying the fine that would result from his wearing Chris Henry's No. 15 jersey Sunday.

But the Bengals wide receiver decided to stay with his No. 85, taking the field prior to Cincinnati's game versus San Diego doing just that.

henry
Henry
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Ochocinco

In texts sent to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Sunday morning, Ochocinco said he didn't want what would have been a tribute to his former teammate, who passed away Thursday, to become a diversion.

"It's becoming more of a distraction for myself and my team," Ochocinco texted. "Chris wouldn't want it to go the way it is.

"It can turn into a big negative if we don't perform the way we should. I'll have his jersey in hand throughout the entire game. His jersey is also 4 times bigger than my normal one."

Ochocinco had considered donning Henry's jersey, but league rules prohibit it.

NFL rules would also prevent the NFL Players Association from reimbursing Ochocinco for any fines he would've incurred had he worn Henry's number.

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah had tweeted Saturday that his organization would cover the fine.

The organization has already established a memorial fund for Henry and plan to match any fine for Ochocinco to that fund and/or the Players Assistance Fund.

But the NFLPA is prohibited from reimbursing the fine money that would be automatically withheld from Ochocinco's paycheck by the league.

Ochocinco is familiar with NFL rules. He was prevented from changing the name on his jersey two years ago unless it was his legal name; later Chad Johnson changed his legal name to Chad Ochocinco.

The Bengals are planning to wear a No. 15 decal on their helmets.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.

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