Chad: 'I'm happy'

Updated: 6:30 p.m.

Chad Johnson was bouncing around the locker room again Friday after the morning practice, high-fiving greetings to some reporters and wondering why everyone said he was mad on Thursday.

"I'm happy," he said. "I was happy yesterday.

"I don't have anything to be mad about."

But he wasn't talking on the record, so when he's going to get back to practice and when/if he's going to get ankle surgery is up to speculation.

But before the lightning came to blow away the afternoon practice, Johnson ran his first routes of the camp, albeit only a handful.

On ESPN Friday, agent Drew Rosenhus said Johnson would report to training camp. When contacted Friday evening, Rosenhaus had no comment.

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A heavy downpour in the downtown Cincinnati area just as practice was set to begin at 3 p.m. forced the Bengals inside Paul Brown Stadium for the afternoon session. Then another stom blew through at 3:30 and Lewis took them off the field and put the offense in the gym and the defense in the meeting room.

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When the Bengals walked out to the practice field Friday morning for the third session of their mandatory minicamp, it appeared their players who are coming back from injury were able to bounce back and work again after two sessions Thursday.

Johnson took the field, but still didn't do much after catching a couple of balls in a cone drill and switching as a DB and receiver in a drill for getting off the line of scrimmage.

Right tackle Willie Anderson (knee) and running backs Chris Perry (ankle) and Kenny Watson (undisclosed) worked again. Overweight fullback Jeremi Johnson worked on the side with strength and conditioning coaches Chip Morton and Ray Oliver.

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Johnson

Chad Johnson certainly seemed more approachable with coaches, teammates, and media alike. During the drills he looked over and saw Clear Channel blogger C. Trent Rosecrans taking pictures.

"You and me after. I want my money for those pictures," said Johnson, deadpan but clearly joking. Then he came over, shook Rosecrans' hand, and said, "How you doing? I still want my money.' "

But when the quarterbacks starting throwing routes, Johnson put the towel back over his head and watched.

After an offseason of bashing everything in Cincinnati but the mayor, is this just another mercurial episode in the life of the city's most famous mercurial man? Or is he ready to be here in at least 2008?

His comments came less than 24 hours after the Bengals said he refused to practice because he complained of a back problem. Both sides have agreed he's got an ankle issue, but agent Drew Rosenhaus said his client has yet to decide if he'll heed the team's recommendation and get the ankle cleaned out in a fairly minor arthroscopic surgery.

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After practice, head coach Marvin Lewis said running back De De Dorsey injured his hamstring Thursday and he doesn't know if he'll be ready for the start of training camp.

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The DBs continue to thrive under new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. On Friday, nickel cornerback candidate David Jones swiped a pass from wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh before he could cradle it.

But that doesn't exactly surprise Lewis.

"This group has been the best in the NFL over the last four years for forcing takeaways," he said and a check with Elias Sports Bureau confirms it. Since 2004 the Bengals have generated 146 turnovers, followed by the Bears (140), the Panthers (132), the Colts (130) and the Chargers (129). Cincinnati is the only one of the top five that hasn't been to a conference championship game in that stretch.

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Charles Collins has to be the most well-known coach inside the Bengals that they have brought to the mandatory minicamp and training camp for NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship program. Collins, a former assistant head coach/wide receiver coach at West Los Angeles, joins Kentucky State head coach Fred Farrier on this year's staff.

Collins is best known as the head of the Phenom Factory, his camp for college and pro receivers in Los Angeles, and as Chad Johnson's closest mentor who was his position coach at Santa Monica Junior College. He's got the rep for being a guy that never hesitates to give Johnson the unvarnished truth.

Having the highly-regarded Collins around is like having another experienced NFL assistant in the mix. So, no, Lewis says, Collins was not brought on this year to help deal with the conundrum that is Chad.

"You want to have coaches that at some point you would add to your staff," Lewis said. "You're not bringing in a guy just to fill a spot or a void, to have some guy that stands around. You want to have guys that can communicate with players at this level, that can coach and teach. I like Charles' detail of things. He's been able to learn a lot of the fundamental things we're doing offensively and really help those young receivers."

Collins has helped receivers at all stages. He's not only worked with many of the Bengals' corps, such as Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Antonio Chatman, but he's also had a relationship with Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski for several years. While the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami 20 years ago, Bratkowski coached with Collins' boyhood friend from L.A., Eric Yarber. Yarber coached Johnson and Houshmandzadeh at Oregon State.

Lewis and defensive line coach Jay Hayes are past members of the program.

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Lewis is still on the Rudi Johnson bandwagon, reiterating Johnson has put on more weight to help survive the pounding of an NFL season. But he's not enamored with the weight Jeremi Johnson has packed on, evidenced by his banishment to the side.

Right now transplanted tight end Dan Coats is the only veteran pushing Johnson and he's just a second-year player learning a new spot.

"We moved Dan to fullback to compete for the spot. We wouldn't have made the move if we didn't think Dan could do it," Lewis said. "I think Jeremi will get himself in position where he can compete. If not we have Dan and other guys and whoever else we have to play fullback."

The other two fullbacks are free agent rookies Bradley Glatthaar from the University of Cincinnati and Tyler Whaley from Ohio State.

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John Thornton on fellow starting defensive tackle Domata Peko's five-year, $30 million extension and his desire to be a locker-room leader like himself: "He deserves it. It's a good deal for both sides. ... I always said he was one of the best rookies I've ever seen and he's soaked up everything that he's seen here (in the row of D-line lockers). He's seen guys at every stage of their careers."

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