Ochocinco reunion with Bengals is unlikely

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
5:44
PM ET
The Cincinnati Bengals don't have a clear-cut No. 2 wide receiver, and their all-time leading receiver just became available when the Patriots released Chad Ochocinco Thursday.

So, is there any chance Ochocinco reunites with the Bengals? I seriously doubt it, and this goes beyond Ochocinco's lack of productivity last season. I'll give you two reasons why this isn't expected to happen: coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals' locker room.

Lewis and Ochocinco had a rocky relationship during their time together and it got testy toward the end when both traded jabs through the media. Remember last year when Ochocinco said he would "whup" Lewis? That signaled to many that Ochocinco's time in Cincinnati was over.

Even if Lewis decided to give Ochocinco another chance, he would face a lot of resistance from Bengals players, who believe their turnaround last season was helped by improved chemistry in the locker room. It's not hard to read between the lines when offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth compared the current locker room with the one in 2006.

"The character is different; the priorities are different," Whitworth told the team's official website last month. "We're just not blowing smoke saying we want to be a good football team. A lot of guys actually work that way, prepare that way, have priorities that way and have the character to live that way. It's just different. I think this locker room has proven time and time again it's a strong one. It's a different deal now."

All that the release of Ochocinco signifies for the Bengals is they're officially the winner of last year's trade with the Patriots. The Bengals used the fifth-round pick from New England on wide receiver Marvin Jones and still have a sixth-rounder from the Patriots in the 2013 draft. When it comes to projecting the Bengals' No. 2 wide receiver this year, the talk should be about Jones and not Ochocinco.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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