Chad Johnson calls out Smoot
Chatty Chad challenges Vikings' Smoot
Bengals' Johnson also pokes fun at Lewis
By Chick Ludwig
Dayton Daily News
CINCINNATI | Ã¢â‚¬â€ Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has a knack for stealing headlines ... and creating controversy.
Who: Vikings at Bengals.
When: 1 p.m. Sunday.
Radio: WTUE-FM (104.7).
TV: WRGT (FOX 45).
Another great example came in the wake of the Bengals' 27-13 victory at Cleveland.
On a day when backup tailback Kenny Watson was placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season following surgery to repair his torn right biceps, Johnson challenged Minnesota Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot with a little trash talk.
He even poked some fun at Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis for being "too Tom Coughlin-like" with his discipline.
Johnson has been seated at Table One in Lewis' doghouse before. He might have another reservation there after asking the media to relay a message to Smoot, the player he'll face during the Bengals' home opener on Sunday.
"How good is he? He's a good talker," Johnson said. "He's a real good talker. He's a solid corner. As a matter of fact, can we send Fred a message?"
Johnson leaned forward and said: "Smoot, let's go. That's it. That's the message for this week."
Who's the better trash talker, Chad or Fred?
"That's a good question," Johnson said. "I don't know. We have to ask him. Smoot, who talks better trash? Make sure he gets that."
Johnson has a laminated sheet in his locker listing the cornerbacks he'll face this season. The names are under the headline: "Who covered 85 in 2005." Smoot's name is next.
Speaking of names, Johnson's idol Ã¢â‚¬â€ TV celebrity Oprah Winfrey Ã¢â‚¬â€ joined world-famous poet Maya Angelou in Dayton on Monday night. Johnson wished he could've been there to meet Winfrey. "Marvin said I can't go," Johnson said. "Blame everything on Marvin."
Johnson wasn't allowed to start against Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, 2003, because he showed up late for a team meeting. He finished with four catches for 77 yards that game Ã¢â‚¬â€ and hasn't been late since.
Lewis most recently dropped the hammer of discipline on tailback Rudi Johnson, benching him for the start of Sunday's game in Cleveland because he violated a team rule. Rudi missed the first series, then rebounded with 126 yards on 26 carries, including a 1-yard TD.
"He's too Tom Coughlin-like right now," said Johnson, comparing Lewis' disciplinary ways to the New York Giants head coach, whose heavy handedness with his former players in Jacksonville was legendary.
"As long as it's for the good, I don't have a problem with it," Johnson said.
What isn't working out so good is Johnson's diet. For all of his Pro Bowl talent, he's a junk-food junkie who doesn't take in enough water or Gatorade to keep himself properly hydrated. He needed two bags of intravenous fluid when he exited Sunday's game with cramps and dehydration in the third quarter.
"He's had the problem since he's been in the NFL (2001)," Lewis said. "It's not going to change overnight. We just have to keep addressing it. When it's a hot day out there like that, we've got to hopefully get through it. If not, we've got to do what we did. He's used to having it and we're used to dealing with it."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ There's no chance offensive tackle Willie Anderson will become Chad Johnson's watchdog.
"Marvin is Chad's watchdog," Anderson said. "He's got his own leash, his own dog food, his own diamond collar for him and a dog house to put him in."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Lewis hopes Rudi Johnson's benching sent the right message to the players. "There is an accountability that's important on any team," he said. "We don't want to be punitive, but I have to make sure I'm taking care of business the right way for everybody's sake. Hopefully, we'll never have to worry about that ever again with any of our players because it is too important."
With Watson out for the season, Lewis has several options with the open roster spot. Signing tailback Quincy Wilson off the practice squad is a strong possibility.
Signature not changing until the Vikings win the Super Bowl. Started- 7/8/2005