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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Giants preparing for 'spirit' of Ocho Cinco

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

I just received a transcript from Bengals coach Marvin Lewis' conference call with Giants reporters this morning. In attempting to praise wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco for his new approach, Lewis ended up taking another swipe at him. Asked to comment on the controversial receiver's recent name change, Lewis responded:

"He is still Chad to me and it doesn't matter to me what name is on the back of his jersey, he is still Chad. That is what he is and it is good to have him back and not to worry about the other guy that was around here for the last two years. He has his spirit back and he feels good about things and that is good. He has kind of put some of the issues he was dealing with in his past behind him and that has been a good, refreshing experience in this season thus far compared to where we were the last two seasons."

How's that for a back-handed compliment? What's interesting is that coaches are often more candid when talking with reporters who cover other teams. It's like they let down their guard a little bit because of the different audience.

That said, Lewis hasn't shied away from being critical of Ocho Cinco (isn't this fun?). It's just a little curious that he would use a conference call with New York reporters to take another swipe.

And what does it mean to say a player has his "spirit" back? I think Ocho Cinco has looked like a clown at times, but it's probably unfair for Lewis to cryptically refer to his "issues."

All that does is make us want to know more about the player's state of mind.