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Fans stick to Warrick

The first installment of rookie receiver Peter Warrick's diary this week:


Tuesday, 12:10 P.M.**

In the language of P Dub, the line to get his autograph is "dirty."

Warrick has his own personal vocabulary, so that means he thinks the line is great.

That means he loves it. That's what he says when he points to his Mercedes 500 and says, "There's 'Platinum.' Dirty."

That's his name for the car. "Platinum." Because it's silver, he says. But on Election Day, his touch is golden.

In the Bengals Pro Shop, they are lining up at the lunch hour for Warrick to sign. Everything from Florida State paraphernalia to an orange striped cape a guy wore up in Cleveland when the Bengals beat the Browns to a worker's design drawings of Paul Brown Stadium.

"Sign in the end zone," the man asks.

Warrick doesn't kiss any babies. But he hugs one, gives the kids five, and acknowledges their parents who tell him he needs to get the ball more, "'Preciate you all coming out," and "I hope so."

It's a good thing Charlie Luken isn't on the ballot today. It looks like Warrick would be mayor of Cincinnati.

Even though he's caught only 26 passes and scored three touchdowns and dropped 11 passes in his first nine NFL games.

"We need to give you the ball some more," says a man with two young sons who gather around Warrick for a picture.

"They're like me," says Warrick with a smile.

"Get you under center in the Wishbone," says the man who knows Warrick scored on a four-yard touchdown run Sunday lined up as the quarterback. "Put Bennett, Dillon and Keaton back there with you and run the option."

Another says, "We're down there every week. We sit right behind the bench. We know you're frustrated. Hang in there."

Warrick keeps smiling and says little because, remember, he's a pretty good politician.

He's let everyone know he wants to get the ball more. But he also doesn't want to heighten the tensions on an already tight offense fighting inexperience and failure.

"I hear it all the time," Warrick says. "Not just here. Everywhere. Family. Friends. 'Why don't you get the ball more?' It's all right though. I'm young."

That's why Brandon Condit likes Warrick. His mother surprised him late Monday night, telling him he could miss morning classes at St. Jude School in Bridgetown to get his favorite player's autograph.

"He's a normal guy. He's nice," Condit says. "He doesn't seem to be like those guys that act like, 'It's all about me,' and point at their chest. He's just down to earth."

Another P Dubism:

When Tony Kountz of the Bengals' marketing department mentions to one of the autograph seekers that Warrick is a star, Warrick says, "No man, I'm not a star. I'm an astronaut. I'm just chilling with the stars. You're the stars."

If Warrick isn't the star of the day, then Ben Hemmelgarn is. He's 18 months old, he's from Anderson Township, and he's got a smiler wider than goal posts when he sits on the table so his mother can take a picture of P Dub wrapping his arm around him. Ben's not moving after the photo because he's smiling.

"Ben says he ain't going anywhere," Warrick says. "That's OK."


1:15 PM**

Warrick is sticking around an extra 30 minutes, until 1:30, so everyone can get signed. The people say thank you. He says, 'No problem, man," and a lady presents him with two Peter Warrick Starting Lineup Dolls.

"These are yours," she says. "Did you even know they had some of you?"

"No. First time I've seen them," he says. Another lady asks if she can have his orange bandanna and he politely says no because, "it's sweet," which in P Dub means sweet.

"I can't do it," a man says under his breath.

"What can't you do?" asks Warrick with a gleam in his eye.

The man pulls a glue stick out of his pocket and says, "This is for your hands so you can make those catches."

He says it with a smile and Warrick takes it as such.

"I'm going to keep that," Warrick says. "I'm going to put it in my locker."

Which means, he knows what the guy is talking about.

1:45 P.M.

Warrick heads to the office of wide receivers coach Steve Mooshagian. He's looking for a tape on the Dallas defensive backs.

While he walks through the Bengals locker room, he drones under his breath a line from the Trick Daddy CD he listened to in "Platinum," on the drive down to the stadium.

"I got to live my life," Warrick, half-says, half-sings. And so he is. He's never been on a losing team or shut down for so long. But he's living his life.

"It's going to happen," Warrick says. "Maybe not this year. But we're going to do it. Our time will come."

Warrick gets to Mooshagian's empty office and while he waits for the coach, he's thinking about being in there Monday and watching tape of Sunday's 27-7 loss to Baltimore and seeing the 40-yard bomb he dropped on the right sideline in the fourth quarter.

"It's tough when you know you're better than what you are playing," he says. "I dropped that one pass. I should have caught that. I thought I had it and I lost focus."

He knows Mooshagian is in a meeting about the game plan. So when Mooshagian arrives, Warrick gets to ask him the question everyone gives him.

"Anything new for me?" Warrick asks.

"We're working on it," Mooshagian says. "We want you there, you know that."

2 P.M.

Warrick is in the office of Travis Brammer and Cameron Walkermiller, the Bengals' video crew, and he watches a few plays from last week's Cowboys-49ers game. Along with the Dallas DBs, Mooshagian is having Brammer copy the work of 49er receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens soWarrick can study them.

"One play," Warrick says. "A big play. I think I'm going to have that break-out game soon."

Warrick is interested to hear special teams coach Al Roberts is pondering allowing Warrick to return the Cowboys' first punt of the game.

There was once a guy from Florida State who had pretty good success returning punts in Texas Stadium.

He's asked if he would like that break-out game in what Deion Sanders used to call his house.

"Anywhere," Warrick says. "Anywhere, man. It doesn't matter." It's going to happen. Maybe not this year. But we're going to do it."

2:15 p.m.

Warrick is walking back to "Platinum," for the drive back to his house on the east side of town. Although he's no longer represented by SFX, he says he signed a commitment in which he has to fulfill signing some items at his house. One of his friends calls his cell phone and asks if they have to feed the guests.

"No snacks," Warrick says. "They've throwed me. Gone."

Which means, "No food, I'm going eight different directions, and good-bye."

Warrick says his "home boys," are up from his hometown of Bradenton, Fla., and some stayed over after a dozen or so came to Sunday's game.

"Oh yeah, we stay close. They're representin,' says Warrick, which means he hasn't forgotten where he comes from.

He say he rarely goes out at night. But today he plans to take the guys up to Tri-County Mall and "shop till we drop. I love shopping. Got to have it."

Warrick knows his taste for shoes and clothes probably cost him the Heisman Trophy last fall at Florida State, when he was charged with petty theft after a Dillard's employee gave him virtually hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise.

"I learned my lesson," Warrick says. "When it's all said and done, everybody does it. You know that. I just got caught."

But he knows he's too high-profile now to do anything like that again . Especially driving Platinum. A car with No. 80 floor mats that also say, "P Dub."

He gets in the car and is showing some of his CDs. He likes R. Kelly and he's got a "Mystikal," CD in the side of his door.

Then he realizes he's still carrying the guy's glue stick, and he throws it in the backseat.

"I'll put that in my locker," he says. "And if I need it at halftime, I'll rub my hands on it."

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