Michael Fabiano | Tags:
Chad Johnson had threatened to hold out from all Cincinnati Bengals team activities, including training camp, during one of his numerous offseason rants to the media.
But when the Bengals opened their mandatory minicamp practice on Thursday, Johnson was there (albeit 12 minutes late). However, showing up to camp was about all he did. Johnson didn’t run routes during positional drills and failed to interact with teammates or coaches not named T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Then came word that the controversial wideout had complained to the training staff of a back ailment. Johnson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made an appearance at the practice and said his client also has an ankle ailment that could require surgery. In fact, Johnson had planned to have an arthroscopic procedure done in the offseason.
“It’s been an issue dating back to last year and we’re dealing with it now,” Rosenhaus told bengals.com. “He may be going to see a specialist.”
Head coach Marvin Lewis said the team would do its due diligence in terms of Johnson’s ankle issues and didn’t seem concerned that the wideout didn’t participate in the practice.
“We’re investigating what ailment it is so they’re going to go through some further study and see how it goes through the weekend,” Lewis said. “He went to the meetings, but didn’t take any reps, which is kind of good because it allows us to move forward. The young guys need the work.”
So what does all this mean to fantasy football owners?
Well, it means that Johnson, one of the better wide receivers in fantasy land, has a little more risk attached to him headed into the 2008 season.
Johnson hasn’t been the most consistent player at his position over the past two seasons, but he’s still averaged 90 receptions, 1,404 yards and scored a combined 15 touchdowns in that time. Those numbers make him a No. 1 fantasy wideout across the board. Johnson also plans to honor his current contract, according to Rosenhaus, so all of his offseason talk of a holdout seems to have been little more than blown smoke.
What owners do need to be concerned about, outside of his sudden ankle and back ailments, is a strained relationship with Carson Palmer. When asked about Johnson, the All-Pro quarterback didn’t have kind words of encouragement.
“I think everybody in here is probably sick of hearing about him. Everybody out there is sick about hearing about him,” Palmer said. “I’m not going to talk about him, I’ll talk about other guys.
With so much pomp and circumstance around the Ocho Cinco soap opera, I’m keeping him out of the top five fantasy players at his position. Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne, Braylon Edwards and Andre Johnson should all be taken ahead of him. In fact, you can make an argument that Houshmandzadeh, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith and Marques Colston even warrant consideration in drafts before Johnson and all of his personal baggage.