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Ocho still dancing (and reporting)

Posted May 4, 2010

Updated: 11:30 p.m.

Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth could hold the record for being the biggest person to ever attend ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.

“I was sitting right up front so they couldn’t see the dance floor,” Whitworth joked Tuesday after he redeyed it home with wife Melissa. “I got some looks. I was talking to some people before he came out. He did well. Really well. He even told me before, ‘I’m in the rhythm. I’m not nervous anymore.' ”

Whitworth represented his teammates during wide receiver Chad Ochocinco’s epic waltz with partner Cheryl Burke on Monday night. On Tuesday it was revealed the dance was good enough to keep Ochocinco and Burke alive for next week with the field whittled to five couples. In between, The Ocho tweeted that cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones had agreed to come to the Bengals, which was news to his agents.

Twice during breaks on the Monday show The Ocho ventured to Whitworth’s seat “to give me some love,” Whitworth said. After the show the couple joined the Ocho and friends for dinner.

(And, no, Burke wasn’t with them. Whitworth said she left to dine with an old coach.)

Whitworth left extremely impressed with The Ocho’s accomplishments and thinks it bodes well for his play this upcoming season.

“He’s in great shape,” Whitworth said. “He’s adding something to himself. I think it builds a little character to try something that hard like that. You really have to apply yourself. You could just leave whenever you want, but he’s actually fighting for it. He was telling me that other people leave during the week, but he’s staying in Los Angeles to keep working at it.”

The couple met Burke (“She was cool,” Whitworth said) and she assured them she and Ochocinco were working hard. Whitworth caught a glimpse of the diamond necklace The Ocho gave Burke for her birthday Monday and gave it to him pretty good.

“I messed with him about that, but you know him,” Whitworth said. “Something like that doesn’t rattle him.”

Whitworth thinks the commitment to such a foreign activity is going to only help Ochocinco when he comes back in June. He says he already sees a regular-season glint in Ochocino's eye.

“It’s helping him grow doing a different thing like that,” Whitworth said. “It takes discipline, just like in your job. He’s already in that excited mode, learning technique and working as hard as he can. I think he’s in a good state."

The Whitworths met some of the dancers and their families, but The Ocho was also curious about what was going on at Paul Brown Stadium.

“I think it meant a lot to him to have us there,” he said.

PACMAN POTPOURRI: One of the agents for cornerback Adam Jones said Tuesday they plan to talk to the Bengals on Wednesday and they’re hopeful a deal can reached after what Ray Savage called “a great workout.”

“He really liked it up there and he had good conversations with all the coaches,” Savage said. “He knows (Mike) Zimmer and Marvin (Lewis) are great coaches and that the fit is nice. We’re going to see what happens tomorrow.”

Savage and Worrick Robinson confirmed that Jones has gone home to New Orleans on Tuesday after the workout to discuss the potential deal with his family. The source also said that he liked his visit and the coaches well enough that indications are he'll return to Cincinnati later in the week to ink the deal.

But the source said nothing is agreed and nothing has been signed and Robinson confirmed as much in a late-afternoon email:

"Adam had an excellent workout today and a meaningful visit (with) Coach Lewis and others," Robinson said. "We are staying in contact with the Bengals' front office to discuss any offer afforded.  Any opportunity in Cincinnati would be a great fit for Adam, given the outstanding reputation of the team, coaches and the fans and the style of defense played."

Later Robinson said that no formal offer has been tendered, although it is believed parameters have been outlined. But Robinson said something on paper is expected and that he is hopeful that it comes together in Cincinnati because of the defensive style.

Jones worked out for the Bengals a second time this offseason on Tuesday and indications were he looked much better than he did back in February. He looked good enough that he got the offer and fast enough that he fits into Zimmer's pressure packages that demand man-to-man play.

Zimmer is a major figure in Jones’ efforts to join the Bengals. He coached Deion Sanders in Dallas and he’s still close with the future Hall of Famer, and Sanders has been telling Zimmer that Jones has turned his life around and will play for him.

And Zimmer says he mentioned Jones’ name back after last season because “you can never have enough good corners.”  He doesn’t know if the Bengals are going to sign Jones, but he was impressed with how Jones looked Tuesday compared to February. Zimmer said he was so undisciplined in the drills that he threatened to leave the field that day.

“But he was very disciplined today. That was impressive. He did everything the way we asked him to do it and he looked good doing it,” Zimmer said. “It was kind of a promise. We told him back in February if he did what he was supposed to do and got in shape, we’d look at him again in April. We’re a few days late but he looked good. You can tell he’s been working. He weighed 12 to 15 more pounds than the last time and he looked fast.”

But his off-field problems have cost Jones two full seasons, ’07 and ’09. Jones, the sixth pick in the ’05 draft, has only played nine games since 2006 and, as Zimmer says, “As a football player, we don’t know what we’ve got. But if we hit it, it’s a home run.”

Zimmer has made it quite clear.

“We’ve got a bunch of strong character guys on defense,” Zimmer said. “I’m not going to let this kid screw up our chemistry. I don’t think he will. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand and said, ‘Coach, I just want to play.’ He seems very humble. He seems to understand."

But Zimmer also reiterated he doesn’t know if Jones is going to sign.

The Bengals have become a haven for players with troubled pasts, but they have come to Cincinnati and helped the Bengals to last year’s AFC North title. It started with a guy that could have been last year's MVP, running back Cedric Benson, and included starting defensive tackle Tank Johnson, and late wide receiver Chris Henry.

But in Jones the Bengals would have the league’s most notorious player. Arrested six times and embroiled in a shooting case in a Las Vegas strip club, Jones got the largest non-drug NFL suspension in 44 years when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for the entire 2007 season on the same day he suspended Jones’ college teammate, Henry, for eight games.

The Titans traded Jones to the Cowboys before the ’08 season, but his off-field problems persisted (an altercation with his bodyguard, a trip to an alcohol rehab center) and earned him another four-game suspension. Dallas cut him after the season and he’s been looking for an NFL job ever since.

“If it doesn’t work out, if something happens, that’s it and we move on,” Zimmer said. “It’s no different than signing any other free agent, but of course he’s going to get the attention.”

What Zimmer has in mind is the Jones of ’06 in Tennessee when he had one interception touchdown and three punt return touchdowns. His 12.9 yards per punt return average led the NFL with his signature game coming against Jacksonville when he had an 83-yard interception TD, a 70-yard kick return, and broke up a touchdown pass to current Bengals wide receiver Matt Jones  late in the game.

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» The defensive back that also got as much interest after he worked out Tuesday was six-year safety Gibril Wilson. Wilson has started 80 games for three clubs since the Giants drafted him in the fifth round out of Tennessee in 2004. But that may be a slower process with more safeties expected to hit the market.

» Also Tuesday the Bengals signed tryout punter Jake Richardson out of Miami University. Richardson flashed an NFL leg in last weekend's rookie camp, but also battled inconsistency. Richardson, a hometown Redhawk from Oxford, Ohio, hasn't kicked since he finished his career as Miami's all-time punter with a career average of 42.8 yards. He joins University of Cincinnati All-American punter Kevin Huber on the roster. Another hometown guy from Anderson Township in Cincinnati, Huber has a solid hold on the job.
 
» The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday night that the Bengals signed tryout running back LaMarcus Coker out of Tennessee. The Bengals officially released the Richardson signing but not Coker's, an indication that it has yet to be signed.

» On Tuesday afternoon the Bengals were looking into the arrest of wide receiver Maurice Purify early Tuesday morning on disorderly conduct charges. According to various radio and TV reports Purify was arrested about 2 a.m. in Newport Ky., at the bar Jefferson Hall. According to the Channel 5 web site, a Newport police report says they broke up a fight inside the bar and made several people leave the bar. When an officer walked out the back door of the bar he found Purify fighting with at least one other person, the site said.
 
 

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