In a bit of surprise move, Chad Ochocinco showed up to the Bengals’ OTAs on Tuesday, a week earlier than expected.
He took a physical, then participated in his first voluntary workout with the team since 2007.
After being quiet for most of the offseason, the disgruntled wideout has been talking quite a bit over the past week.
Bengals.com reported that Ochocinco spoke briefly with head coach Marvin Lewis last week and Monday was the first time he spoke with starting quarterback Carson Palmer since the end of last season.
"I need the fans to embrace me. I know people are mad at me. I read the message boards, but I've apologized 85 times," Ochocinco said. "If they can embrace me, I can spread my wings and be myself. When they're mad at me, I don't know if I can be myself. I'm an emotional guy."
He admitted that he came into last season without doing much conditioning and that lead to him getting hurt and being unproductive.
This year he’s been working out much harder, including taking up boxing. He feels he’s in the best shape of his life, but knows that he needs to get his timing down on the field.
“I’ve been training hard, but today I was rusty. Because this is a whole different dynamic,” he told reporters. “I’m rusty in football skills, not my shape. A day or two, maybe Thursday, I’ll be a lot better than I was today.”
Ochocinco is attempting to bounce back from his most unproductive year since his rookie season. He mustered just 540 yards and four touchdowns.
HALL FACING SUSPENSION: Despite having his DUI charge reduced to a misdemeanor charge of reckless operating of vehicle last week, cornerback Leon Hall could still face a suspension in the upcoming season.
"Yes, he is still under review for potential discipline," NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said last week. "Pleading to a lower charge doesn't prevent you from discipline."
The league is expected to review the case more thoroughly in advance to season.
BOOMER OPTIMISTIC: Former Bengals’ quarterback Boomer Esiason was in town last week for Boomer's Big Bang, a two-day sporting clays pro-am event at the Elk Creek Hunt Club in Owenton, Ky. to benefit the Boomer Esiason Foundation for cystic fibrosis research.
He took time out to talk about the Bengals with reporters and appears to be optimistic for the 2009 season.
"With the three wide receivers they have, and the quarterback they have, they can be as exciting as the Cardinals offensively if they get things rolling right," Esiason said.
QUICK HITS: It doesn’t appear that the Bengals have much interest in free agent Greg Ellis, who was released by the Cowboys last month. The 34-year old linebacker’s asking price is too high and the team appears set to let rookie Michael Johnston develop.
Wide receivers coach Mike Shepppard spoke highly about Chris Henry and his commitment this offseason. “His whole approach and work ethic is unlike any time since I've been here,” receivers coach Mike Sheppard said.
Linebacker Keith Rivers is just one of many heads that rookie running back Barnard Scott is turning. Rivers recently compared Scott to the Titans’ Chris Johnson, who broke out last year as a rookie and helped lead to Tennessee to a NFL-best 13-3 record.