Bengals WR Johnson keeps promise to report, quietly
GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- Receiver Chad Johnson had nothing to say when he reported for training camp Sunday, ending the Cincinnati Bengals' offseason drama with a pillow under his arm and a leave-me-alone look on his face.
Now, the Bengals can try to move on.
By showing up on time and without complaint, the Pro Bowl receiver brought his teammates some relief from his failed attempts to get traded. They were glad that Johnson was no longer a hot issue.
"I think it's water under the bridge," said receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one of Johnson's closest friends on the team.
The only absence Sunday was first-round draft choice Keith Rivers, a linebacker who was the ninth overall pick. The team's other nine draft selections were under contract before an afternoon workout. The first full practice was scheduled for Monday morning.
Johnson made his entrance without fanfare.
Carrying a pillow under one arm and an Xbox in hand, Johnson walked past reporters without responding to questions and headed into room 113 at the Georgetown College camp. Johnson has decided to continue his practice of ignoring the Cincinnati-area media.
Johnson was criticized last season after he berated quarterback Carson Palmer on the sideline following an interception during a loss to New England. As it turned out, the interception was Johnson's fault -- he ran the wrong route.
Palmer was gracious Sunday when discussing his relationship with the receiver, who holds or shares nine team records. He had 1,440 yards on catches last season, a club record.
"There's nothing to mend," Palmer said. "There's never been any hard feelings between the two of us. He has his stance and whether I feel the same or feel different, it doesn't matter. We're teammates and we've been a great tandem and hopefully we'll continue to be a great tandem for years to come."
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Johnson apologized to fans who were put off by his lobbying for a trade. He also said he will revert to the way he was before he got caught up in controversy.
"You're going to get the same Chad, maybe a double dosage of what you got in the past," he said. "I'm going to make it fun. I'm going to be flamboyant. I'm going to talk. I'm going to run my mouth. You're going to get everything you got in the past, maybe a little more."
First, he's got to get healthy.
Johnson had bone spurs removed from his right ankle June 18 and hasn't fully recovered. He had a pronounced limp when he ran 40-yard dashes at less than full speed Sunday afternoon with the rest of the receivers. He didn't fully participate in the 45-minute workout, which included stretching and running.
Johnson has three years left on his contract, which was reworked in April 2006 and brought him an additional $10.75 million. The Bengals turned down a trade offer from Washington before the draft, signifying their insistence that Johnson wasn't going anywhere no matter how much he complained.
Owner Mike Brown is pleased with the outcome.
"It was a rough patch," Brown said at the team's preseason luncheon last week. "He was doing his little dance and had his reasons for it. I wish it could have been avoided, but it's behind us now. We need him. He's an integral part of this team. He's a brilliant player. I would hate to think of us without him."
The Bengals opened camp without Rivers, who is projected as a starter. They signed receiver Jerome Simpson (second-round pick), defensive tackle Pat Sims (third round), receiver Andre Caldwell (third round), offensive tackle Anthony Collins (fourth round) and safety Corey Lynch (sixth round) to four-year contracts Sunday.
Also, they gave offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth a four-year contract extension through 2013.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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