Ochocinco had four catches for 80 yards in Sunday's Pro Bowl. (AP photo)
Updated: 11:45 p.m.
On a night he tried out his plan for 2010 to tweet the NFL commissioner the week of every game, Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco had two numbers on his mind after the AFC's 41-34 victory over the NFC during Sunday night's Pro Bowl in Miami.
8,000 and 45,000.
After he caught four balls for 80 yards, it meant that Degree would donate $8,000 to the Haitian relief fund at $100 per yard. And he says $45,000 was the winner's share. Which took away any disappointment that he didn't kick or play cornerback Sunday night.
"Ah, that was no big deal. It didn't matter," The Ocho said after the game. "It was cool. I was in a relaxed mode. To tell you the truth, I was just trying not to get hurt. Nobody was trying to hurt anybody and that made it fun. I had a great time."
The Ocho was particularly thankful to Cardinals defensive back Antrell Rolle after he caught a short pass over the middle at about the NFC 10 from Jaguars quarterback David Garrard early in the third quarter. Even as he reached to catch it he began ducking, but Rolle pulled up on the hit.
"He really could have laid me out," The Ocho said. "That was nice."
The Ocho had two shots to celebrate a touchdown. On the field-goal drive in the third quarter, Garrard threw him a slant that got tipped out of his hands in the end zone and then early in the fourth quarter Titans quarterback Vince Young had him one-on-one on a bomb into the end zone but he couldn't hang on to a tip that bounced off his chest.
The potential celebration was a point of interest because before the game The Ocho tweeted commissioner Roger Goodell and asked if he could do a celebration without getting fined. The answer came through loud and clear, according to ESPN Radio. He could, as long as it was in good taste.
"I must be the only guy in the league that has the commissioner on speed dial," The Ocho said. "I'm going to tweet him before every game next year and run by him what I have planned for a celebration that week. That way he can tell me right then and there if it's OK. There's no reason we shouldn't be on the same page."
The Ocho got half his yards on a 40-yard-catch-and-run pass from Garrard over the middle in the third quarter and added that short catch later in the drive to set up a field goal by Miami's Dan Carpenter. His 10-yard catch at the end of the first half set up a Carpenter attempt, but he missed even as The Ocho was waving for Chargers head coach Norv Turner to send him in to kick it.
All of which inflamed former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, along with Dan Fouts an analyst on the Westwood Radio One network for the game.
"I don't like (his act) because it's always about him and never about the Bengals," Esiason said during the game, when he suggested both sides would be better off with a divorce.
But Esiason may not have received the memo. Ochocinco's coaches and teammates felt he was a team player this past year and Ochocinco said Sunday night he's ready to do it again.
"This is a great start for 2010. It's going to be a big year because I'm going to be back," he said. "Can I say that?"
He certainly sounds as happy as he's ever been in the midst of his dive into the charity aspect of social networking. A week after his Soldiers For Giving bus tour ended in Miami, Degree sponsored his foray into the Little Haiti section of Miami, where he helped hand out food in an effort he says fed more than 400 families.
"Definitely," he said. "That's the only way you get through it."