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CINCINNATI -- Bengals receiver Chad Johnson (who has legally changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco) said Monday he will play this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, and that he's "super, extra focused" in both in mind and body.The receiver cited a renewed focus on his team, which he said had been lacking this offseason, and physically, he deemed his partially torn labrum in his left shoulder "fine."
"There's nothing wrong with me, trust me," Johnson said. "I mean, you'll see it on Sunday. I can do everything. I can hit you with my left right now, but I'm not going to. I'm fine. I'll give you a story after Sunday." Johnson did not want to discuss his legal name change to Ocho Cinco in his first interview since the news became public. He wanted to keep the focus instead on the Ravens and the task of playing against a defense led by linebacker and mentor Ray Lewis. Ironically, at the urging of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Ray Lewis consoled Johnson during his troubled offseason to the point where the receiver is finally ready to get back to football. Trade demands, a desire for a new contract and a postponed ankle surgery made up a tumultuous past seven or eight months for the Pro Bowl receiver. "I've got a lot of making up to do to a lot people," Johnson said. "Teammates, coaches, from the top all the way down."
AFC North blog
Monday's practice was the first time quarterback Carson Palmer and receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Johnson were together on the field this season. In addition to Johnson's shoulder injury, Houshmandzadeh also missed time with a bad hamstring and Palmer suffered a broken nose. Johnson credited Palmer for giving some of the best advice for handling his shoulder subluxation, which will need monitoring all season. "As soon as I got hurt, he told me to take it seriously," Johnson said. "He thought I would just go in and get treatment. But my rehab is a six-month process, which is the whole season. So he said 'Even if I'm feeling fine, pretend like you're still hurt.' He was right."