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Offseason rumbles

Updated: 8:20 p.m.

The Bengals look to be heading into a week of change and controversy in the wake of another Chad Johnson incident.

With indications that the Bengals are getting ready to hire a defensive coordinator (looking more and more like Mike Zimmer), Johnson fired what looked to be a trade salvo.

Speaking on ESPN's "Mike and Mike Show," Johnson elaborated on his 2007 frustrations and indicated the team should "get rid of" him.

"Fingers were pointed at me this year," he said. "If the team and the organization wants to further itself, I think you need to get rid of the problem. To do me that way and not to have my back. Things were said, and nobody came to my defense."

Johnson couldn't be reached for comment Friday. Drew Rosenhaus, his agent, said, "I have no comment on or off the record about Chad's situation with the team."

Johnson, who turned 30 Wednesday, has surfaced in the 12 days since the season ended in stories that say he feels underpaid and under loved.

He's telling some people he'll never play for the Bengals again and Philadelphia fans already think he's tradeable and headed to the Eagles.

On Friday he went public on ESPN Radio.

"The general sense is there were things said. I was told I was a cancer to my team," Johnson said. "There were the trade rumors and all that and nobody came to my defense. I didn't say anything. I went out there, put up my numbers, did what I needed to do and (people say) I'm a distraction.

"If I'm a cancer, we as a team need to get chemo. If I'm a problem, it needs to be dealt with."

Both Bengals president Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis denied a trade story attributed to ESPN and reporter Chris Mortensen said no Bengals official mentioned a trade.

"He isn't going anywhere," Brown said of Johnson in a November interview. "Chad Johnson is a tremendous football player. We're glad he's here. He's an integral part of what we do."

As far as Johnson being a distraction, Brown said, "I know this. I'm really happy he's here playing for us."

Those close to Johnson say his ire is aimed at a coaching staff and media that he feels ganged up on him and gave him an unfair large share of the blame when struggles ensued this past season.

But the Bengals appear to be sticking to their guns. They aren't going to rip up his contact for a third time since 2003 and they don't feel the salary cap hit that would be ignited by a trade is affordable. In April of '06, with four years left on his deal, Johnson signed an extension worth more than $6 million per year that can keep him here through 2011.

While that looks to be at a stalemate, the defensive coordinator spot looks to be heading to the front burner and Zimmer remains the leading name, according to an industry source outside of the Bengals and Cincinnati.

Zimmer, the Falcons first-year defensive coordinator, figures to keep the Bengals in a 4-3 even though he helped the Cowboys to an' 06 playoff berth in a 3-4.

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