Posted: 7:30 a.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - After cornerbacks Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph got up in his face during the Wednesday morning practice, one of the pundits Chad Ochocinco reets (cross between a rave and a tweet) against constantly poked his head into his space and said, "I'm Pete Prisco and I saw on your Twitter page you probably hate me because I said you were overrated."
But this is 2009 and not 2008 and The Ocho gave the CBSsportsline.com guru his hand to shake.
"I don't hate you ever, it's OK," The Ocho said. "You guys base your information off what we did the previous year. I know that.''
"Hey, I had to pick someone from your team," Prisco said.
"I was the right person," The Ocho said. "I think you actually helped me out. It gets me going. I brought it on myself. I expect that, but I still have to defend myself."
Also in the group was Clear Channel's John Thornton, the former Bengal, who told Ochocinco he's doing all the right things in the massive Twitter assault he's using to try and "get his brand out there," as Thornton would say.
They did note that San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie got fined $2,500 for complaining about the Chargers training camp food on Twitter. The Ocho says he hasn't heard any complaints from the club.
"You can't be talking about the food," Ocho Cinco said. "I haven't said anything negative. I don't know why some people (outside) don't like me doing it. It's just taking me away from the video games. It's nothing serious. It's just a computer."
What's happened, it seems, is his nightly uStreams on Twitter have replaced his daily sessions with the media that he would use to Ocho Psyche himself up.
"You guys will have your piece with me; this is for now" he said. "This is when I'm at my best. When I'm able to express myself. This is what people call pressure and I have to go play. I don't have a choice but to show up. That's what I like about it."
He's been getting hammered by the pundits. Foxsports.com columnist Mark Kriegel (who wrote the definitive sports biography in a brilliant work on Pete Maravich), called The Ocho a four-letter word for loser in a long rip job back on Tuesday. Then he went video to crush The Ocho for not being able to come up big in big games.
"Mark Kriegel you're an idiot," was one of The Ocho's tweeted back.
On Wednesday, The Ocho smiled. He says he's enjoying the daily jabs with guys like Krigel.
"The fight with Krigel, the little video he made, the video was cool," The Ocho said. "But he's not making any sense. You can find anything negative in any player."
Ochocinco certainly hasn't made any public enemies down here. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski says, "He's into it. I can tell you for about a year and half he really wasn't mentally into it. But he's back into it."
Better yet, Ochocinco looks good on the field. He's right. He's a different guy than '08. Bratkowski isn't about to say this is Pro Bowl Chad. But it's worth noting that Bratkowski says he's "still got that burst" that made him one.
"He'll get lazy sometimes and not use it when he doesn't think the ball is coming to him," Bratkowski said. "And then all of a sudden it does and he'll be surprised. But he's fought that his whole career."
Quarterback Carson Palmer sees the difference.
"He's been great so far. He has the right focus. He's fun to play with," said Palmer, who also admitted, "I don't even know how to get on Twitter."
Meanwhile, The Ocho says he's back and he's focusing on being as strong in the fourth quarter as he is the first. And he says he should because after an offseason of boxing, "I'm in stupid shape."
"I want to be more disciplined in the later quarters," he said. "I can run all day."
On Wednesday, it was Prisco that had to run and do an interview with Palmer.
"You staying around for awhile?" The Ocho asked.
"No, I've got a plane at 3," Prisco said. "I just didn't want to hit and run. I wanted you to see me."
"Of course," he said. "I appreciate it. My pleasure. I'll see you around."
So it goes.
FULL CIRCLE: Now you know the rest of the story.
More than 40 years before Wednesday's announcement down here that linked the NFL and Procter&Gamble, then Bengals assistant general manager Mike Brown and one of the Bengals owners, John Sawyer, brainstormed on ways to get the new team entrenched in Cincinnati. They wondered if P&G would be interested in a sponsorship concept in which the team would be called the "Cincinnati Suds."
As Brown once recalled laughing, "They saved us from ourselves," but on Wednesday it didn't sound so funny.
NEW TEs?" Who could the Bengals get for new tight ends? There's not much out there between long-in-the-tooth guys and inexperienced young guys.
Besides Bubba Franks, there are other double-digit veterans out there like former Steelers Mark Bruener and Jerame Tuman. But Bruener has played in just nine games the past two seasons combined. As expected so late into signings, there's not much out there. There is the age issue (long-time Raven Daniel Wilcox, 32, is also out there) and the Bengals usually avoid signing older players.
But, there aren't many young ones, either.
The Bengals could go out and sign their sixth-round pick from '08, Matt Sherry, a guy they cut back in June. Or there is Martrez Milner, a fourth-round pick of the Falcons in 2007 who didn't play in the NFL last year. Or George Wrightster, 28, a fourth-round pick of the Jaguars who played in just five games last year.
Head coach Marvin Lewis left open the option of signing maybe more than one.
"We'll look to bring in some people," he said. "You may take a look at guys like that physically, older guys, what they can do in a workout situation. I think you'd want to research some of that," he said.
ATTENDACE UPDATE: Through the first four days of camp, Georgetown athletic director Eric Ward said attendance was up over last year, 18,000 to 14,000. They were looking for some more with this year opening on the weekend, but the rain looks to be out of here and the big weekend of the scrimmage and Mock Game is still on the way.