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Ocho Plays Cards

Bengals wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco said he'll have a quiet offseason and he's been true to his many words.

After a quick intrastate flight to the Super Bowl, Ocho Cinco is back in Miami getting ready for the upcoming season with the same name and team.

The Ocho says he'll keep his new name for the 2009 season as well as his appointments with the Bengals.

And, he says, the rise of the Arizona Cardinals shows how quickly the Bengals can get there.

"It can happen and with No. 9 (Carson Palmer) healthy we can do it in a hurry," Ocho Cinco said Monday.

Ocho Cinco
Although some see his status with the team murky after last offseason's trade-me or trade-me tirades, Ocho Cinco said he plans to be at Paul Brown Stadium "whenever they want us there."

Quite a switch from last year, when he didn't show until the mandatory minicamp in mid June. If head coach Marvin Lewis adheres to the recent past, voluntary offseason workouts begin the last week in March.

"Yeah, I'll be there," Ocho Cinco said. "I haven't really stopped working out since the end of the season. I feel good."

Ocho Cinco said he feels so good that he has no plans to have surgery on the shoulder he separated in an August preseason game and that he's looking forward to getting down the timing that was so badly lacking last year with Palmer.

"If I needed it, I would have had it by now," said The Ocho, whose June arthroscopic ankle surgery last year cost him the first week of training camp.

"You figure that T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and I didn't really practice together until the last week," he said of the week before the Bengals opened the regular season. "That's why I get mad when they say Carson didn't play well before he got hurt. He didn't have us out there until that last week. I know what that means for timing. I know what it takes to go 100 miles per hour and stop on a dime."

Another sign this is a new offseason for The Ocho:

Although the NFL Network crew repeatedly tried to bait him last week at the Super Bowl on the Houshmandzadeh contract by telling him "T.J. doesn't want to go back," Ocho Cinco was steadfast that his long-time teammate does.

On Monday The Ocho, who has played with Houshmandzadeh the last nine seasons at Oregon State and the Bengals, said he needs Houshmandzadeh "like Hugh Hefner needs playmates."

It's an open question if Houshmandzadeh is going to be back but not what name The Ocho is going to use again.

"It's still Ocho Cinco. That's my name, so there should be no problem with the jerseys this year," he said of the financial snag that held up last year's transformation of his No. 85 jersey from Johnson to Ocho Cinco.

Right after the season the Bengals held an 85 buy-one-get-one-sale that wasn't related to his status with the club but an end-of-season inventory.


! According to Bloomberg News, Sunday's Super Bowl averaged 95.4 million viewers, ranking second behind last year's game. It was seen in 42.1 percent of American homes, according to Nielsen. The Giants victory over the unbeaten Patriots drew a 43.1 rating and 97.4 million viewers.

Each rating point equals one percent of the 114.5 million U.S. television households. When the Bengals lost Super Bowl XVI to the 49ers in January 1982, the game had the highest rating at 49.1.

! The agent for Bengals safety Chris Crocker said Monday that he and the club continue to talk about re-signing before the Feb. 27 start of free agency. Tony Paige, in Hawaii for this week's Pro Bowl, said he plans to talk to the Bengals when he returns.  

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