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Original Issue

Chad Johnson

Bengals Wide Receiver

On players who sayhe is boisterous and calls too much attention to himself

It doesn't botherme at all. I know where to draw the line, and I seldom p--- anybody off.Cincinnati hadn't had any excitement in years before last season, and Ipromised myself that as long as I'm here, I'm always going to give fanssomething to look forward to.

On reaching hisprime as a receiver

I'm not at the topyet. I'm very, very good; to the naked eye it looks like, What more can he do?But there's much room for improvement. My offensive coaches never give mepraise. My position coach Hue Jackson's favorite line is, "Right now,you're 365 degrees below fly s---." It's the little details, like runningthe same route the same way every time, so Carson [Palmer, the Bengals' QB]always knows where I am. Those details can make the difference between a playgoing 10 or 50 yards.

On his favoritesports

I played soccerbefore football, and I was good. That's where I get my quick feet--my feet areunbelievable. When I got to high school [Miami Beach High], I had to choosebetween the sports because they were in the same season. I chose footballbecause I saw more opportunity, but it broke my heart. I still follow soccer; Iwatched every minute I could of the World Cup. I like to think I play footballlike Ronaldinho, with the trick moves and the anticipation. When he playssoccer, he looks completely different from everybody else. I try to do thattoo.

On his success (772receiving yards and six TDS in his last eight games) against the division-rivalRavens

I don't know whatit is, but it's like Christmas every time I face them. Maybe it's that[Baltimore linebacker] Ray Lewis and I are friendly rivals or that I get moreanxious the better the competition--but I devour that defense. The Ravens bringout my best. One thing I need to work on is staying at that high level ofintensity all the time, instead of playing down to my competition.

On his touchdowncelebrations

I don't know whythe NFL is worried about them. They want everything about the game to beperfect--at least what they consider perfect. The pants have to hit the socksexactly right, the uniforms have to be exact. The way they treat you, it'salmost like being in jail. It's crazy, because when I come up with a newcelebration, the fans love it.

On his friendshipwith Terrell Owens

We talk every week,about touchdown celebrations and all sorts of stuff. I got to know him aboutthree years ago. He's someone I look up to as a receiver, and he's a cool guyoff the field, too.

On his ultimatedinner party

Me, Oprah, Jay-Zand Bill Gates. But not for dinner. I'd take them to Wet Willie's in SouthBeach on Memorial Day weekend, when Miami's going off. I'm pretty sure they alldrink. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have to pick up the check.




Photograph by Michael J. Lebrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography