Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Chad: There was no fight
By Mark Curnutte and Paul Daugherty
Enquirer staff writers
Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson today denied reports that he was involved in a locker room fight at halftime on Sunday during the Bengals' playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When asked about a report from the Web site profootballtalk.com that claims Johnson was involved with an altercation with receivers coach Hue Jackson, and then swung at head coach Marvin Lewis, Johnson said nothing happened.
“That sounds like drama," Johnson said. "At halftime, I was getting an IV. Nothing happened. Why don’t you talk to the coaches, they’re all down there today.”
The Bengals had no comment.
“We don’t comment on rumors,” Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan said.
Citing an unidentified league source, profootballtalk.com reported that several Bengals players witnessed an altercation between Johnson and Jackson as halftime concluded.
Jackson did not return a message left this morning on his office phone at Paul Brown Stadium.
The site profootballtalk.com reported: “Per the source, the last few minutes of intermission were ticking away, when the players were startled by the sight and sound of a helmet slamming against the glass pane of the training room door. Johnson and (wide) receivers coach Jackson were engaged in an altercation,” according to the Web site.
“At one point, Johnson was seen holding Jackson in a headlock.
“Coach Marvin Lewis entered the training room to intervene, and Johnson (per the source) took a swing at him. Eventually, receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh broke up the skirmish, within a minute or so of the team exiting the locker room for the second half.”
The Bengals led 17-14 at halftime but lost 31-17 in the wildcard game.
The Web site reported that Johnson was unhappy about the lack of passes thrown to him, three with two completions in the first half.
Johnson caught two of the three attempts in his direction in the second half to finish with four receptions for 59 yards.
In post-game interviews Sunday, defensive tackle John Thornton was among the handful of players who talked in general about the lack of cohesion and that the team concept was lost and must be regained.
Thornton, reached this morning via cell phone, said, “I can’t confirm or deny anything that happened in the locker room.”
Thornton did say Sunday that the issue did not involve rookie players.
In his post-game comments Sunday, Lewis alluded, generally, to a problem, saying, “We came in here as a football team and we need to leave out of here as a football team and understand that it's about working through the tough times. You work through the critical points in the game and do you job.”