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Thursday, October 8, 2009
Bengals game personal for Washington

By James Walker
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


The start to the 2009 season has a different feel for Baltimore Ravens receiver Kelley Washington.

 
 AP Photo/Elise Amendola
 Kelley Washington hopes to show the Cincinnati Bengals what they're missing out on.
First, the seven-year veteran is on pace for career highs in catches and receiving yards in Baltimore’s high-scoring offense. Second, after experiencing three non-winning seasons in four years in Cincinnati, Washington is facing his former team for first place in the AFC North Sunday when the Ravens (3-1) host the Bengals (3-1).

This game is personal for Washington.

From 2003 to 2006, Washington played behind receivers Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and later Chris Henry in Cincinnati and felt he was lost in the mix. Now thriving in Baltimore, Washington wants to show his former team what its missing.

"I definitely want to show them what I’m about," Washington told ESPN.com Thursday. "I know they know it. But I definitely want to put a beating on the defensive backs and show the coaches there, the owners and all the personnel people what I’m about."

Washington has been one of the top success stories in the AFC North this season. He accepted an invitation from Baltimore on a tryout basis in the spring and beat out receivers such as Jerry Porter and Tab Perry.

A strong training camp and preseason helped Washington get early opportunities in the offense and he hasn’t slowed down since. He is second on the Ravens with 16 catches for 198 yards and has quickly developed the trust of second-year quarterback Joe Flacco.

Washington said former teammate Randy Moss taught him a lot while the two were with the New England Patriots. Washington watched how Moss operated when he first arrived in New England and quickly forged a dominant duo with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

"[Moss] just constantly talked to [Brady] on what he likes and what he expects," Washington said. "That’s what I’m doing with Joe."

The results are showing on the field as Washington has become Flacco’s third-down specialist.

Washington also is known for his dancing. His moves have excited crowds in all three stops in Baltimore, Cincinnati and New England. (We recommend checking out "The Squirrel" from Washington on YouTube.)

Ochocinco also is known for his celebrations and says he has something special planned Sunday. So there could be an entertaining competition within the game between two former teammates.

But who’s the better dancer?

"I know he knows deep down who the better dancer is," Washington said of Ochocinco. "He might have a little bit more things up his sleeve. But as far as quality of a dancer, he knows who’s better."

Only one player will be dancing in first place after Sunday's game.