Updated: 9:30 p.m.
LA JOLLA, Calif. -
In this outer region of Bengaldom, they soon found themselves in another Ocho adventure that turned into a kind of memorial service for Chris Henry at a Denny’s.
“I couldn’t sleep thinking about Chris. I’ve got to keep my mind busy. I’ve been bothering people ever since we got on the plane,” The Ocho said via cell phone before Saturday’s walkthrough. “I’ve got to be around people.”
He didn’t have to worry about that. In what has now become routine on a Bengals road trip, fans from all over streamed to the Ocho’s tweet until about 40 gathered in a 5:30 a.m. caravan.
There was Goldasich and Opperman, two USC fans who became Bengals fans the minute
“There he was, sitting in the passenger seat in my truck at 5:30 in the morning,” Ray said. “Sports needs more guys like that.”
There were a lot of laughs at breakfast. Goldasich told Ochocinco that
But a lot of time was spent talking about Henry.
“He played Denzel Washington’s voicemail about Chris,” Opperman said. Ray heard him tell Ochocinco to hang in there, that he was praying for everybody and “I’m pretty sure he told him to be a leader.”
“He had a video of him playing Madden with Chris,” Goldasich said. “And he said he calls Chris’s phone just to hear his voice on the message.”
The Ocho admits he’s having a tough time dealing, but he says he’ll be ready for Sunday and the Chargers. Henry’s No. 15 jersey is going to be on the sidelines, but he still doesn’t think he’ll wear it. He doesn’t mind the NFL fine that would be waiting if he does wear it “but I don’t want to be a distraction,” he said.
Contacted later Saturday, The Ocho said that even though the NFL Players Association is going to cover the fine, he still doesn't want it to be a problem with head coach Marvin Lewis: "I'm going to work through Marvin on that," he said.
As of Saturday night, it looked like No. 85 would stay in No. 85.
“I think he’s going to play really well,” Opperman said. “I think he’s going to play hard and well for his friend.”
With a little help from his new friends, he just may.