Notes: Rivers Wards off hit


Chad Ochocinco's new checklist. (Bengals photo)

Updated: 4:20 p.m.

Just like The Hit back on Oct. 19, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward didn't hold back Wednesday when the topic of the broken jaw of Bengals WILL linebacker Keith Rivers resurfaced with Sunday's 4:15 p.m. rematch at Paul Brown Stadium.

In the wake of the rule change he spawned, Ward said he'd take the fine rather than hit Rivers low while Rivers literally turned the other cheek after saying last year, "You reap what you sow."

"I'm just trying to get a win in Week 3," said Rivers, when asked if he's been waiting for this game for a year. "I've been thinking about Denver when it's time for Denver and I've been thinking about Green Bay when it's time for Green Bay.

"I want to play well against everybody I play. It's all the same."

Rivers' promising rookie season came to a smashing end at PBS on the first series of the seventh game when Ward, the most feared blocker in the NFL, blindsided Rivers with a shot to his head when Ward turned back upfield to block.

"I came back and tried to help my teammate get extra yards," Ward said. "I peeled back, put a pretty good hit on him, unfortunately his jaw broke. I didn't say I'm going to break this guy's jaw."

The play was made illegal over the offseason with "The Hines Ward Rule," or "The Keith Rivers Rule" according to your perspective. Blockers are now barred from making blindside hits to the head and neck area.

On Wednesday, Ward said he'll still hit Rivers and take the fine rather than go low.

"I'll still hit him. I'll just get fined. It's either that or try to hurt somebody," Ward told the Pittsburgh media. "So you either fine me or you want me to end someone's career. I'd rather take a fine than end someone's career, so I'm not going to change.

"Me being the defensive guy, I'd rather get high than low. Because if I hit Rivers (low) I probably would have blown out his knee, he never would have played football again. So whoever called me a dirty player, you look at it that way."

Rivers shrugged when told of thoughts Ward had also expressed back around when the rule was changed in the spring.

"We'll see how the rule works out. Hopefully it helps out as opposed to being worse like he's saying. Hopefully it works out and guys don't miss half the year. I'm just looking forward to playing. I don't have much to say about it. Hopefully it works out like that," Rivers said.

Asked if he'd get a shot to put a hit on a guy like Ward put on him, Rivers qualified it.

"It's football. Things happen. If it happened that way then it happened that way," Rivers said. "I don't know. It hasn't happened. I don't play offense, so I don't have the opportunity. Maybe an interception. We'll see. I just plan on going out and play football. What's in the past is in the past."

Ward has no doubt that Rivers wants to come calling.

"No more than I'm looking for him. It's football. If he's worried about me, he ain't worrying about the 10 other guys or his responsibilities," Ward said. "He's going to do his responsibility and if I get the ball, I'm sure he'll take a shot on me. It's not different. If that same play happens again, I'm going to take my shot again.

"It's football. I'm just going to go out there and play. I'm not going to sit there and worry about Rivers; I have to go out there and try to help this team win the ball game."

Ward feels picked on and says he saw Colts receiver Reggie Wayne in the Monday night game in Miami peel back and hit a linebacker and nothing was called.

"Unfortunate thing is, me being labeled; then the rule change came out," Ward said. "It kind of singled me out as a dirty guy in the league, a dirty offensive player in the league. A wide receiver being dirty, I take that as a compliment."

On Wednesday, Rivers calmly just took it.

"All I'm doing," he said, "is looking for the 'W.'"

LINE STATUS: After backup Dennis Roland played 18 snaps Sunday in Green Bay behind Anthony Collins, Marvin Lewis indicated at his Wednesday news conference that the club is still looking for the best combination at right tackle as well as the left guard situation with Evan Mathis and the injured Nate Livings.

Lewis said Roland had productive snaps that included about five plays at tight end and "We're trying to find out what the best group is. I don't know if you want to say (right tackle) is up for grabs. We played both guys a little bit last week and we'll go into this week making a decision later in the week on how we'll go through it this week."

Tight end couldn't be much newer for Roland, a second-year player who came out of Georgia as a free agent in 2006.

"Maybe (I played it) a day my freshman year of high school," he said.

CHECK-ING CHAD: Chad Ochocinco, pledging a Spanish-themed celebration if he scores a touchdown Sunday against the Steelers, proudly showed off his Dulce Venganza (Sweet Revenge) checklist before practice Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium.

"That's about as much as I'm going to say," he said of the potential celeb. "I'm going to need the help of my fans in the north and the south end zones. I'm just giving you a heads-up. I'll get to you before the game starts."

He let Denver's Champ Bailey "slide" because the Broncos won, but he checked off Bailey's teammate, Andre Goodman, as well as last Sunday's Packers tandem of Charles Woodson and Al Harris. Next, Ochocinco says, are the Steelers' Ike Taylor and William Gay.

But Ochocinco bristled when he heard the notion that he's had some battles with Taylor over the years. Since the Steelers drafted Taylor in the fourth round in 2003 out of Louisiana-Lafayette, The Ocho has had just one 100-yard game and it came in Taylor's rookie season, as well as just three touchdowns.

"No, I haven't had any battles with him," Ochocinco said. "As a whole the team has played well against us. A battle would be me against Champ Bailey or me against DeAngelo Hall. The (Steelers) game plan is designed to stop what I do. There are no battles, no individuals. The team plays well against us and limits the things that I do during the year."

Since Taylor has been drafted, the Bengals have had only one 100-yard receiving game against Pittsburgh and it was wide receiver Chris Henry's 124-yard day on four gargantuan catches in the New Year's Eve '06 loss at PBS. The Ocho said the counter to the Pittsburgh plan of taking him away was to go to somebody else, "but it's not going to be like that this week."

Frankly he says the team he really gets psyched for is Baltimore.

"I do enough to get jacked up with the list and trash-talking, and saying the celebration ahead of time; that gets me going," he said. "But Baltimore, I don't have to say a word."

Ochocinco, who once thought the defense was bad enough to put into his trade rants, says it is playing on a higher level than his offense.

"They're ahead of us by so much," he said. "I say in five, six (games), we'll be playing on all cylinders."

The Ocho checked Woodson even though he failed to block him well enough on the Bengals' last offensive play on Sunday, a third-and-five that fell short by four yards and forced Shayne Graham's 40-yard field goal with 1:56 left that gave the Bengals a 10-point lead.

"I can play better, especially in the run game," The Ocho said. "I had a chance to get a block on Charles Woodson last week that would have actually sealed the deal. We wouldn't have got into that crunch of time where we could have got the first down and actually kneeled on the ball. In a situation like that, I need to come through better in the blocking game."

Although Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu (knee) isn't playing, he says the Steelers are still dangerous because "Troy is the real deal but that front four or five makes that unit go. That's where it gets scary."

Told that he and long snapper Brad St. Louis are the only Bengals left from the last PBS win over the Steelers in his rookie season of 2001, he said, "I can't even remember that's so long ago. Who's next to go? Not me."

What a difference a year makes.

*INJURY UPDATE: *Lewis said cornerback David Jones (foot) probably won't play Sunday but he'll get some work in. He didn't elaborate on Livings (knee) and said that running back Cedric Benson (ankle) and wide receiver Chris Henry (thigh) will be limited Wednesday but full go Thursday. Jones worked out on the side in uniform in rehab. Henry was in sweats and Benson was dressed but not wearing pads as the light rain forced the Bengals onto the FieldTurf at PBS. Livings and cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle) were limited.

For the Steelers, Ward and defensive end Aaron Smith missed practice Wednesday but it wasn't related to injury. Polamalu (knee) is out for a few more weeks and his replacement, Tyrone Carter (thigh) didn't work either.

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