Posted: 6:20 a.m.
For a guy not even starting in Sunday night's 7:30 p.m. Pro Bowl on ESPN, Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is getting the attention of such in his hometown of Miami.
After starting the week clubbing with LeBron James and doing some rapping with big-time artists, he vowed he would kick and punt in the game when the Chargers' Nate Kaeding had to bow out because of an injury. On Saturday, Ochocinco went into the Little Haiti section of Miami and loaded supplies that according to his tweet are going to feed 400 families affected by the recent earthquake. Degree is going to donate $100 to Haitian relief for every yard he gets Sunday night and *The Miami Herald *is running a Sunday spread on his Soldiers For Giving Tour that rolled on a bus from Cincinnati to Miami last week.
And with the Pro Bowl under fire, The Ocho, the only Bengal in the game, gave it an endorsement late last week as he prepared to play in his sixth one. Only Anthony Muñoz, the Hall of Fame left tackle, has appeared in more in Bengals history.
"It's a great way to recognize players for a job well done during the season," said The Ocho, a second alternate called when the Pats' Randy Moss and Wes Welker declined because of injury. "They get to take their families to a nice place and they get the recognition they deserve. I think it's wonderful. Of course, it's in my hometown, so I'm having a great time as it is."
In the first Pro Bowl played the week before the Super Bowl instead of the week after and on the mainland and not in Hawaii, nearly half the players selected by the players, coaches and fans aren't in the game, including the dozen from the Super Bowl teams.
"I liked the way they did it before," The Ocho admitted. "I'm not sure why they changed it, but I liked it when they played it after the season and more guys could make it."
It would be fitting if The Ocho ends the season kicking. That's how he began it in the preseason back in August when he filled in for the injured Shayne Graham and kicked the deciding extra point in a 7-6 win in New England over the Patriots. He also kicked off to open the second half.
Dan Carpenter of Miami has replaced Kaeding, but that hasn't stopped the predictions.
"They tell me I'm going to do some kicking and punting. I'm going to be very versatile," said The Ocho, whose AFC team is coached by the Chargers' Norv Turner. "I may end up playing a lot of positions. I know I'm going to play some corner. I've played corner before in the Pro Bowl for a couple of snaps. Watch me. I'm going to be all over the place."
Houston's Andre Johnson and Denver's Brandon Marshall are starting at receiver, but Ochocinco and the Chargers' Vincent Jackson figure to get plenty of time. The Ocho is no stranger to the game.
In his first Pro Bowl he caught 156 yards, second most in Pro Bowl history, and 90 came on a pass from Titans quarterback Steve McNair. Following the 2006 season, Ochocinco caught a 42-yard touchdown from teammate Carson Palmer and later drew a 39-yard interference penalty to set up the AFC's winning field goal.