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News » Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2008-08-18

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2008-08-18

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2008-08-18
Chad Johnson returned to practice Aug. 4 for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery June 18, and he added another first since last October when a week later he talked to a group of reporters from the Cincinnati media. A shoulder injury suffered Sunday could keep him out of the rest of the preseason, however.

In a post-practice conversation Wednesday, Johnson said he is not looking for a new contract, will be in better health this season than he was last year and that a conversation with mentor Ray Lewis helped him change his attitude.

"I'm really not looking for a new deal at this point," said Johnson, who has four years remaining on his contract with the Bengals but spent most of the offseason pining for a new one. "A new deal might be looking for me."

A conversation with the Ravens linebacker Lewis helped Johnson turn from an offseason of complaining.

"Just about understand the position I'm in, understanding how blessed I am," Johnson said of Lewis' message. "There are millions of people who want to play this game. He had me looking in a different direction besides being frustrated by the season. I'm sitting here fussing about something I can't control."

Johnson said during the offseason that he was frustrated by losing in Cincinnati and that he felt unfairly blamed for the team fizzling at 7-9 last season. He underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery June 18 and said he was about 50 percent healthy last week when he returned to practice.

"This week I'm about 85 percent. I'm doing pretty (well) thus far, after coming back from severe ankle surgery," he said. "By opening day, I'll be in midseason form. I'll be good to go. I'll be ready to go. ... Last season, I played at about 25 percent."

Johnson said he spoke to reporters because he was threatened with a league fine of $20,000 for violating its media policy.

Coach Marvin Lewis wouldn't comment on the conversation Chad Johnson had with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. But at his news conference Thursday, Marvin Lewis discussed what kind of person and player Ray Lewis was and couldn't hide how he wanted more of his players to follow that example.

"I know that Ray was a very, very good player on a team that wasn't very good for a long time and never won eight games, never won a division championship," Marvin Lewis said of Ray's first three years with the Ravens, which coincided with Marvin's first three seasons as their defensive coordinator (1996-1998).

"And he never said a word other than 'How do I find a way to make my team better, to make the players around me better, to help them get better? How do I become better?' And that's all he worried about. He didn't worry about anybody else. So I think that's a great lesson. He never pointed a finger. He never said a coarse word. He didn't worry about himself; he just worried about how his team could get better."

CAMP CALENDAR: Camp closed Friday.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 18, 2008

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