'I need to get back to my old self''

9-27-03, 7:15 p.m.

The Week 4 installment of Bengals wide receiver Kelley Washington's diary of life as a NFL rookie. After having no catches last week against the Steelers and just two for 18 yards during the season as the third wide receiver, he sensed this past week in practice that needed to take a bigger role and sell quarterback Jon Kitna on his abilities with some post-practice sessions.

I'm playing with a sense of urgency and not that it hasn't been for me until now. I play like that. But looking at last week's film, and after seeing Pittsburgh play like that and seeing for the first time all year a team doubling-teaming Chad (Johnson) and even Peter (Warrick) at the same time, I know I have to step it up.

For the first time, the other team went one-on-one and said, "Let's see if the other receiver can get it done." That should make opportunities for a wideout or maybe a tight end. I'm used to that kind of pressure. That's where I come from in the SEC. That's what I'm here to do. This is my philosophy. If you make a catch and play, he'll look for you again the next week. And if you do it again, he'll look for you the week after that.

I guess you could say I'm trying to sell Jon on what I can do. We've had some good conversations this week. He's been telling me, "We've got to find a

way to get you the ball." I think they want to work me in some more. I had a good week of practice, and Peter Warrick told me the best thing I can do is stay after practice and work with Jon and that's what I did.

He stayed after with me and the other rookie receiver, Lawrence Hamilton, for three straight days starting Wednesday. I need to get back to my old self.

I used to do that every day at Tennessee. Stay after practice and catch balls. I want to get back into that mode like I had my freshman year at Tennessee. Work twice as hard, especially now because they already have two established receivers here. I have to let Jon know that I'm going to make some plays.

He's been in the league seven to eight years and been around all types of players, so he's easy to communicate with. He lets you know what is on his mind. He's always talking about how I can improve as a receiver and what he thinks. He tells me all the time how my releases are great off the line, and they're just looking for me to make a play.

In my mind, it's going to take one play because I know where I come from my and my ability. It's going to take one play for me to open their eyes. The coaches are going to say, "This guy can catch this five-yard hitch or this 10-yard out, and make a guy miss and take it 20-25 yards."

There were opportunities in the last game, but things happened. He might have been looking at me, and he got flushed out of the pocket, or a sack may have occurred, or he had to throw it elsewhere. I feel deep down I can make plays on this level. The cornerbacks don't change. They're still smaller guys, they're quick.

But we talk about using size. I've talked to Brat (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski) about getting some plays in there so I can create some opportunities.

It's just a matter of Kit believing in me, and me showing them I can make a play. If he knows you'll be there, he'll get it to you. Even if you're not really open. If he believes in you that you can make a play, he'll go after you, so I'll be trying to get his confidence.

Going into Week 4 and having two catches and not really having the ball thrown to me, I just want to say I know I have to do it. I don't want to take Chad's role away from him because I know he's going to catch the majority of balls, or Peter's role. But if I can get two or three balls and get an opportunity to make a big play, I want to do it.

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