NFL players join Ochocinco's network
CINCINNATI -- Chad Ochocinco and other prominent NFL players will be asking the questions and giving reports during Super Bowl week.
The media-savvy Bengals receiver plans to attend news conferences and parties leading up to the title game in Miami, gathering insights from coaches, players and celebrities for his array of social networks.
He'll have help in the unprecedented plan. Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice and Cardinals Pro Bowl defensive lineman Darnell Dockett also will be toting microphones and tossing questions at the Colts and the Saints -- and maybe even commissioner Roger Goodell.
It's the first such venture since the receiver formed his "Ochocinco News Network" with Motorola.
"It'll be something new, something never done before," Ochocinco told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Miami, where he played in the Pro Bowl on Sunday night.
Ochocinco and his three helpers plan to function as reporters, updating a Web site and a Twitter feed during the week. The players have hundreds of thousands of regular followers on their personal Twitter accounts and other social network platforms.
They expect to attend media sessions where players and coaches are available, conduct interviews with guests at the media headquarters, and provide behind-the-scenes glimpses at the nightly Super Bowl parties in Miami.
The goal is to provide players' reactions to the whirlwind week.
"That's what everybody wants to hear," Ochocinco said. "They want to hear the players' perspective. They don't want to hear what the other [media] outlets say about what they feel is going on. People want to hear what the players feel about the events, the whole nine yards."
The Pro Bowl receiver launched his "News Network" last October, planning to enlist other NFL players in breaking news. He didn't do much with it during the season as the surprising Bengals won the AFC North title before losing to the Jets in the playoffs.
"At that time as the season neared the end, I had to slow down a little bit on most of the social media stuff," he said. "Coach [Marvin] Lewis never said anything directly to me, but you understood that it wasn't the right time to be doing as much as I used to. So this is the perfect time to do what I'm doing right now, and I'm the perfect fit for it."
Motorola, which is promoting its MOTOBLUR technology, assembled the four-player crew that will cover the Super Bowl.
"When OCNN first launched, the goal was to give fans unprecedented access into Chad's life and the game he loves," Motorola marketing officer Bill Ogle said. "Expanding OCNN with more correspondents for the Super Bowl just made sense."
All four players are adept at social networking, but have never been involved in such a project.
"To be honest, I don't really know Chad that well," Cooley said in a phone interview. "He's so outgoing, he's such a prevalent figure in social networking. When Motorola asked me to do this, I was excited because I get to hang out with Chad for a week."
Dockett got to experience the other side of the Super Bowl last year when the Cardinals lost the title game to the Steelers. The other three players will be experiencing it for the first time.
"I can't wait," Cooley said. "It should be a lot of fun. Just to be interviewing Peyton (Manning), to talk to Drew Brees -- that will be great."
They're taking it seriously. The four players had a production meeting on Monday. They plan to attend media day with the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, arriving in their own OCNN van. When evening comes, they'll split up to attend the parties and report on them.
Ochocinco should have the inside scoop on one event. He's hosting a party for 400 people at his South Beach home on Friday night that will raise money for Haiti.
The NFL commissioner traditionally holds a question-and-answer session with reporters during the week. Ochocinco plans to be in the media contingent and hopes to get called.
What would he ask Goodell?
"I'm not sure right now," he said. "When that time comes, I'll be prepared for him. Trust me, I have a lot of questions for him."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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