Chad Johnson and Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens do have a few things in common.
They both are considered to be among the best receivers in the NFL, if not the best.
On the playing field, they are intense competitors who succeed in making their respective teams ,and teammates, better.
Oh, and they both are clients of super-agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Please, if there’s any justice in the world, let the comparisons end there.
In truth, anyone who would jump to the conclusion that C.J. and T.O. are of the same ilk has spent little or no time around the Bengals receiver.
To the outside observer, Johnson dances to taunt, jaws at quarterback Carson Palmer about his lack of touches because he’s selfish and creates lists to defy the authority of head coach Marvin Lewis.
That’s T.O.. Not C.J.
But, Bengals fans can’t be blamed if they watch the circus in Philly and worry.
Owens was unceremoniously released last week after he engaged in a series of altercations, physical and otherwise, with quarterback Donovan McNabb and head coach Andy Ried. He’s sparred with the media, made a spectacle out of doing push-ups in his driveway and spent much of the past ten days making apologies which couldn’t be any more lacking in sincerity.
Rosenhaus, who rescued a child who was drowning in a pool at Disney World recently, might need his complete arsenal of CPR skills to revive T.O.’s career.
Johnson’s infamous “List” of cornerbacks who “won’t” cover him during the 2005 season has been a popular topic among fans, media and Bengals opponents.
He says it’s more of a challenge to himself. Lewis called the list “irrelevant” but felt compelled to remove it prior to the Bengals game at Baltimore and replace it with a more “team-oriented” list.
Johnson complied with Lewis’ wish and proceeded to satisfy every request listed thereof.
How would T.O. react if Ried was fiddling with his “paperwork”?
Johnson has caught 53 passes for 808 yards and five touchdowns this season. He ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards. He and Palmer are making significant strides toward becoming one of the NFL’s top one-two combinations a la Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison in Indianapolis.
The Bengals (7-2) play the Colts at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Johnson said his antics are all designed to add a little more fun and entertainment on Sundays. No malice exists in his intent.
When Johnson unveiled his sign which read, “Dear NFL, don’t fine me again. Merry
Christmas”, we laughed.
When he unleashed the “Riverdance” earlier this season, we laughed again.
When Johnson talks trash on the field his opponents often laugh.
Ever see anyone “laugh” at Terrell Owens? Nope. That’s cause T.O. is no joke. Just ask Rosenhaus.
Johnson’s operates on a different level.
“The outside world doesn't know me,” he said. “They only see a cocky, arrogant, trash-talking receiver. But I want people to understand the hard work I put in each week. I put in hours of watching film and going over the game plan. I come in on my off-days. I wish people would understand I'm not just talk.”
Johnson has been known to call Lewis in the wee hours of the morning to discuss how to get open on a particular play. He has an insatiable drive to be the best.
The cliché “Don’t judge a book by its cover” aptly describes Chad Johnson.
What also differentiates Johnson from Owens is his support group. Although Ried finally took a stand, one has to believe that Lewis would have acted a lot sooner. See Corey Dillon.
The veteran-stability that exists in the Bengals locker room won’t allow any individual player, especially Johnson, to stray too far from the team’s task at hand. Willie Anderson won’t stand for it.
But, Bengals fans are holding their breath.
Johnson is due a substantial raise this off-season.
Rosenhaus will be crawling out from his proverbial sewer looking to manipulate the media, fans and the Bengals’ brass into believing he, er I mean Johnson, deserves every penny possible.
Here’s hoping the system doesn’t corrupt Johnson. Right now, C.J.’s just having fun.
So are we.