Updated: 5:20 p.m.
It must be wide receiver Chad Ochocinco's old age. Not only can he not remember the 190 yards he put on coach Sean Payton's Saints in the Bengals 31-16 victory in 2006 to give him an NFL-record 450 yards in back-to-back games. But he couldn't remember that he paid back Payton for the tickets that day in the Superdome.
"I can't remember if it was 13 tickets or $1,300 I owe Coach Payton," he said before Wednesday's practice.
But in his conference call with the Cincinnati media, Payton said The Ocho not only paid him back three-and-a-half years ago, but he signed a hat for his son that is still in his bedroom.
"Listen, my son will have him up in fantasy this week and he won't even flinch," Payton said. "I'll look at the list before I leave and say 'what are you doing?' and he'll say 'I just like the matchup," he'll tell me."
» The Bengals weekly Wednesday media fodder took a hit with no Terrell Owens news conference. The Ocho reported that Owens was sick after coming back from the weekend in Los Angeles.
"Weather change; it caught up to him," Ochocinco said.
» Owens wasn't at practice as flurries swirled about the frozen Paul Brown Stadium field, but the Bengals look to be getting their secondary back. For the first time in two weeks, cornerbacks Johnahan Joseph (ankle) and Rico Murray (ankle) and safety Roy Williams (concussion) practiced Wednesday. Cornerback Brandon Ghee (hamstring) worked on the side. Williams went full go and Joseph and Murray were limited.
Also out was right end Antwan Odom (wrist). The Bengals aready have three defensive linemen (Jon Fanene, Tank Johnson, Frostee Rucker) on season-ending injured reserve and how close is Odom to becoming the fourth? He hasn't been on the field since Oct. 10 because of a suspension for testing for banned substances, a knee injury and broken wrist.
» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) and defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee) were also limited. For the Saints, runnning back Pierre Thomas (ankle), who has been inactive since Oct. 3, was limited.
» The Ocho more than made up for Owens' absence with one of his old-time media sessions. He guaranteed it would be a "Messy Sunday" in honor of the New Orleans rapper and comedian Messy Mya, killed last month in the 7th Ward. He also plans to honor the late Chris Henry, the Bengals receiver and New Orleans native that died a year ago Dec. 17 in a truck accident, in the Bengals 1 p.m. game at PBS against the Saints.
"I'm probably going to get fined, but that's OK," he said.
Ochocinco has already been reminded at least 54 times. That's how many catches he has this season with his No. 15 gloves that have Henry's number in the palms.
» With five games to go in a 2-9 season, typically there are more questions about the future than the game and this year is no different. And just as typically a player's stock answer is either "The future will take care of itself," or "I can only look ahead to this week." Count Clint Boling and Michael Johnson, respectively, in those categories when asked about the future Wednesday.
» The club had been talking to Benson about an extension earlier in the season but he says there has been nothing since and he's looking at free agency, although the Bengals are expected to try and keep him. The Bengals have a $6 million option in 2011 on the Ocho and while not many expect the Bengals to exercise it, he says he wants and expects to be here.
"I don't understand that contract stuff," he said.
» With the blackout deadline 24 hours away, it looks like a sellout isn't going to happen for the second straight game.
» With Hamilton County staring at a midnight deadline to set its 2011 property tax rate, the Bengals committed more than $10 million Wednesday to the county's plan to stabilize a deficit. As part of the agreement to build PBS and Great American Ball Park in 1996, county property owners get a $52 credit for every $100,000 value of their home. That money comes out of the stadium fund, which The Cincinnati Enquirer reports has a "predicted deficit of $16 million" in 2011 and $130 million over five years.
The Bengals released a statement saying the $10 million figure includes $8 million in new rent and a $2.225 million guarantee of future revenues from other events. Also in the deal is the possibility of adding 10 more years to the Bengals lease "through additions to the existing term options currently in place," the statement said.
"The Bengals are pleased that today's agreement does not impose any new charges or taxes on fans," it said. "The Bengals hope that today's steps will serve the public interest by helping to stabilize the County's financial picture. The Bengals further hope that it serves as the basis for a more positive relationship between the two parties going forward."