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Thursday, September 4, 2008
Ray counsels Chad

By James Walker
ESPN.com

 
 US Presswire
 Ray Lewis, left, has advised Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson, right, through a tumultuous offseason.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is a mentor to a lot of NFL players in and out of the Baltimore Ravens' locker room.

One of those players is Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, whom Lewis consoled during a tumultuous offseason that included numerous trade requests, right ankle surgery, and demands for a new contract.

After a series of public explosions, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, a former defensive coordinator in Baltimore, urged Ray Lewis to counsel Johnson -- who legally changed his name to "Ocho Cinco" last week.

Whatever Ray Lewis told Johnson has worked, as the Bengals' receiver says he is now "super, extra focused" on football and the 2008 regular season.

"What I told him is just whatever you have going on, think of God," Ray Lewis told reporters in Baltimore this week. "Let God deal with that. Just understand that you're a role model for so many people. So many young kids want to be in the position you're in. They want to follow Chad Johnson."

Ironically, both stars will face off in a big AFC North battle when the Ravens host the Bengals on Sunday. Both teams struggled in the preseason and could use a division win to jump-start its season.

Both players want to be at the top of their game when they face off Sunday. When asked if he had any regrets about helping a division rival, particularly before the season opener, Ray Lewis said he didn't mind helping Johnson get to this point.

"No, not really, because he's a friend," Ray Lewis said. "You don't care about wins and losses when it comes down to brotherhood and competition. That's why I love when we play against Chad Johnson and play against those guys like that, because you're going to get their best, and that's why you play the game."