SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 20: Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores a touchdown in the first half during the Cincinnati Bengals v San Diego Chargers NFL Game on December 20, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo By Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Chad Ochocinco has over 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Now add a least two more supporters from inside the Chargers locker room.
Hours after Bengals coach Marvin Lewis casted doubt on whether Ochocinco can overcome an ankle injury and “mopey” attitude to play on Sunday, a pair of Chargers defenders said on Wednesday they hope the charismatic Bengals wide receiver can.
“He's a fun guy,” linebacker Kevin Burnett said with a smile. “He makes the game interesting. I don't see why (the NFL) fines him so much for doing some of the things that he does. But he makes the game interesting, and he actually makes you want to play a little bit harder.”
Ochocinco has bone spurs in his left ankle that will reportedly require surgery in the offseason. He is expected to be on a limited snap count in the final two games of the season, should he play.
Cornerback Quentin Jammer said he hopes Ochocinco does, for both their sakes.
“It's hard to be an NFL player and then you get hurt or they hold you out,” Jammer said. “That's all you've done all your life is play football, so when they take it away or it gets taken away, it's kind of hard.
"But yeah, I would much rather face their top-tier guys. Anytime I get to play against Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, it's always a lot more fun. I do get up for them.”
Ochocinco has 26 receptions for 474 yards and seven touchdowns in five career games against the Chargers. He caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in last year's meeting, a 27-24 Chargers win.
In a conference call with San Diego media, Lewis said the six-time Pro Bowler was being his “mopey self” and “when things don't go Chad's way, it's kind of what happens.”
“I don't deal with it,” Lewis said when asked. “We just move on, alright? We’ll put a new guy in there. If he’s not ready to go on Sunday, we’ll have somebody ready to go and go from there.”
Burnett said he thinks Ochocinco will play. Otherwise, he will turn the tables on the always-vocal superstar.
“I'll call him,” Burnett said, “and be sure to give him an earful.”