Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Johnson says he won't attend team functions, demands trade
By John Clayton
Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson left no room for doubt Wednesday: He wants out of Cincinnati as fast as possible and he doesn't plan on reporting for any future Bengals functions -- mandatory or voluntary.
What spurred Johnson's immediate reaction was a statement made by quarterback Carson Palmer that indicated Johnson had told Palmer he would be at the team's mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Johnson said that wasn't true.
"I want to make this very clear,'' Johnson said Wednesday. "I don't know where he got that. I made no assertion to Carson that I would do that. Nothing has changed from what I've been saying for three months that I don't want to play for the Bengals.''
Johnson made one of his strongest statements in saying he is not planning on reporting to any team functions because he wants to be traded.
"I want to be traded before the draft, and if that doesn't happen, I want to be traded as soon as possible,'' Johnson said. "I don't intend on reporting to anything.''
The Bengals said they have no comment in response to Johnson's statements. A team spokesman pointed to coach Marvin Lewis' statement at the owners meeting that he has fully discussed the Johnson situation and didn't feel it was productive to talk about it again.
Johnson is skipping the team's offseason workouts as he tries to push for a trade. But the Bengals have also made it clear that they have no plans of trading him.
Lewis has said repeatedly that the team has no plans to deal Johnson, despite the wide receiver making the rounds of radio and television talk shows to voice his displeasure about his situation in Cincinnati.
In a February interview with Jim Rome, Johnson said he felt he was being blamed for the Bengals' problems and disappointing showing last season.
"I'm not allowed to say. I get the blame; the so-called best player, I'm the problem," he said. "Someone in-house is spreading this. Maybe they want me to quiet down [and] stop being me. That is not going to happen. I can't function that way. I tried it. It sucked. There was no excitement."
Last month, on "ESPN First Take," Johnson again hinted at wanting a trade.
"I want to continue my career wherever I have the opportunity to win a playoff game and get to the Super Bowl. That's where I want to be," he said.
Wednesday, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said he was surprised by Palmer's comments about his possibly reporting to mandatory camp.
"I wish he would stay out of my business,'' Johnson said.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com