Bengals dream of being Cowboys

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
When it comes to the NFL, the difference between the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys is night and day. The winless Bengals face the 3-1 Cowboys Sunday in Dallas.

But even Bengals players are enticed by the Cowboys' mystique.

"Personally, I grew up a Cowboys fan," quarterback Carson Palmer said in his weekly news conference in Cincinnati. "It's a place I've never been and I've always wanted to play. I've always wanted to see it. I'm excited to see the old stadium and I'd love to see the new stadium. It looks like it'll be a number of years before we get back there.

"But it's America's Team. It has a perception of being the classiest organization. A lot of guys won't admit it, but everybody wants to play for the Cowboys. Everyone wants to get drafted by the Cowboys, the way the organization is set up and the way they treat their players."

Palmer's statements can be taken with a grain of salt. He's the face of the Bengals franchise and signed a nine-year, $118.75 million contract that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2013. Besides, the last position the Cowboys are thinking about upgrading is quarterback.

But receiver Chad Ocho Cinco's comments to the Dallas media were much more telling. He made numerous trade demands this past offseason and once cited Dallas as a dream scenario.

This week, courtesy of the transcript provided by the Dallas Morning News, Ocho Cinco reopened that can of worms.

"I tried," Ocho Cinco said. "I talked to 81 [Terrell Owens] almost every day, man. I love 81. We talk all the time. That would've been a circus...Tell [Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones I said hello and give me a call some time."

It was clear in the offseason that Ocho Cinco no longer wanted to be a Bengal. There's nothing he can do about it right now. But these statements could be a brief prelude to Ocho Cinco once again asking out of Cincinnati in 2009.