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Looking for Chad they know on Stars

Updated: 3/30/10, 12:30 a.m.

Yes, a lot of Chad Ochocinco's teammates watched his debut on ABC's *Dancing With The Stars *last week and it sounded like a bunch were going to tune in for Monday night's show when The Ocho was scheduled to go on next to last for his fox trot with Cheryl Burke.

The Bengals gathered for their first day of offseason workouts Monday and The Ocho got high grades, but quarterback Carson Palmer admitted, "I'm not a dancer myself so I can't critique someone else's dancing skills."

But Palmer said he texted The Ocho after the first show and told him he thought he was great, but he's got to loosen up a little bit.

"He'll come out of his shell. He'll be a little more outgoing and hopefully he'll be a little more Chad," Palmer said.

Palmer and the guys will hopefully have to wait another week because The Ocho came up with a thoroughly unOcho outing. Unsmiling and stiff, he earned only a combined 16 from the three judges but he has to wait until Tuesday's 8 p.m. announcement on ABC to see if he got enough votes to hang in there for next week. The thinking is he beat Buzz Aldrin, but he was down.

He looked like it was a two-catch game against Pittsburgh and he responded with the same "have to get better" quotes. Burke was not pleased. The judges urged Ochocinco to quit thinking so much and to marry football and dancing instead of separating them.

His tweet a few hours later summed it up, complete with a frown:

"they are harsh, I'm not a dancer and it seem like they want an overnight professional, man this is hard:( "

Earlier Monday, Ochocinco's mates said they understood why he'd have the jitters.  

"A little tight in the hips," said wide receiver Andre Caldwell, and cornerback Leon Hall knew why.

"What was it? Something like 25 million people watching?" Hall asked. "If it was football, he'd be fine but he'd never done that. It wasn't like doing the Salsa on the weekend. I thought he did great. I don't know anything about ballroom dancing, but he did better than I could have."

Caldwell: "He was good. It was fun watching him. He'll be OK."

He'll need the encouragement after the trot. The Ocho checked in Saturday from Hollywood before he headed to a coin-operated laundry and admitted, "Bleep yes, I was nervous. Are you kidding me? All those people looking at me and this is not what I'm used to doing. If it had been a game, no problem, you know what I mean? I got by because of my rhythm."

But one of his latest tweets before he went on Monday made it sound like he still had some nerves: "Totally awesome jerry rice is here, now im nervous."

Burke is definitely driving him like a coach ("She's like Sergeant Slaughter," he says) and The Ocho says it has to be done. It's almost like learning a game plan.

"The toughest thing is memorizing the routine," he said over the weekend. "I have to learn it in segments and then I have to put it together. And then I'll do it one time and she'll change something. The thing is that every technique is different."

The Ocho has yet to hit the field, but he says when it's time to start catching the ball in a few weeks he'll supplement his daily eight-hour dancing days with football at night.

"This is replacing what I did last year with boxing, so I'm really having the same kind of offseason that I had last year," he said.

Although he's also going to be doing a dating show after DWTS, there doesn't seem to be a concern Ochocinco will be that far behind. He has said he'll be here for the mandatory minicamp in mid June.

"Chad's a competitor. He loves to play on Sunday or Wednesday. He loves being out there," Palmer said. "If there is one thing he can do it's juggle a number of activities. When it's time to play football he'll be ready to play football."

Chip Morton, the Bengals strength coach, didn't see the first show, but his kids did. He doesn't see a problem.

"I'm sure he's taking care of himself," Morton said. "He takes good care of himself. He's a high-energy guy. He'll come back ready."

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