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T.J. SEES BOTH SIDES


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T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who didn't attend most of last year's offseason workouts and on-field sessions before becoming the first Bengal to ever lead the NFL in receiving, is a bit surprised his decision to do it again is causing a bigger stir in '08.

Two words.

Chad Johnson.

"Yeah, it's probably because of that," said Houshmandzadeh Friday from California. "But we're two different dudes. He's got to do what he's got to do and I've got to do what I've got to do. Two different personalities. I march to my own drummer. Everyone knows that."

Houshmandzadeh knows there are "positives and negatives," about staying home in the Los Angeles area. He admits it "felt different," doing it last year, but he also said he came into training camp in the best shape of his life.

"Obviously not being around the guys, relationships and that's all stuff I enjoy. Those are negatives," he said. "But getting the personal attention in the gym as opposed to being part of a group of about 20 to 30 guys, that is something that really helps me."

There isn't anybody with the Bengals that Houshmandzadeh doesn't talk to all the time during the offseason. Two of those guys are strength coaches Chip Morton and Ray Oliver.

"I've told them it is nothing against them. They have a great program and I do a lot of the stuff they do," Houshmandzadeh said. "But if I'm getting tired and I'm losing my technique, my (trainer) can see that right away and correct me because of the one-on-one attention. And I probably came in faster than at any time since I came out of college last year, and I get the chance to work on the speed by myself."

He also says he wants to be around his two small daughters who attend elementary school and preschool in California during the spring.

"That's something that means a lot to me. I spent so much time away from them earlier," he said.

Houshmandzadeh insists it has nothing to do with his contract. After coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and his first Pro Bowl berth, he's still working on the four-year, $12 million deal that ends after '08.

"My situation is cut and dried. It doesn't matter," Houshmandzadeh said. "Either I stay with the Bengals after this season and or they decide not to give me a new contract. That's it. Would I like a new contract? Yeah. Do I think I deserve a new contract? Yeah. But it's fine. Like I said. It's cut and dried."

Asked if he was surprised there hasn't been any more contact about an extension since last month's NFL scouting combine, Houshmandzadeh said, "No. You can only be surprised if you expect something and I don't expect anything."

He does expect to get criticism from people outside the organization and, "Some of the coaches are probably wondering, but I think the players understand."

Houshmandzadeh admits that without him and Johnson, "the rhythm and the flow and the timing," in the passing game is going to suffer a little bit, but he also says he'll do what he did last June and July and spend the month leading up to training camp throwing with Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.

"We must have got together 10 to 15 times," Houshmandzadeh said. "It's easy because we live so close together out here. Just pick up the phone and let's go. A lot of times it's our second workout of the day because we both work out in the morning."

Houshmandzadeh doesn't have much to say about Johnson's trade rants.

"Hey, I hear them before you do, so it doesn't surprise me," he said. "He's been saying this stuff pretty much since the end of the season. I don't know if he's coming to (the mandatory) minicamp or to training camp or whatever. We'll just have to see."

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I never had a problem with TJ because he's been direct and to the point,He gave the bengals home discount and now is after a big dollar deal.

But he will not sit out a game just simply wants to be around his family so who can blame the guy.

Both these guys are on the wrong side of 30 so sentiment can't get in the way. But if it was my money, I'd do a deal with TJ before Chad and i really don't think I'd do an extension for TJ. He's going to want huge money guaranteed and a long term deal. There are teams out there that will pay, the Bengals shouldn't be one of them.

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I never had a problem with TJ because he's been direct and to the point,He gave the bengals home discount and now is after a big dollar deal.

But he will not sit out a game just simply wants to be around his family so who can blame the guy.

Both these guys are on the wrong side of 30 so sentiment can't get in the way. But if it was my money, I'd do a deal with TJ before Chad and i really don't think I'd do an extension for TJ. He's going to want huge money guaranteed and a long term deal. There are teams out there that will pay, the Bengals shouldn't be one of them.

You don't think what TJ does has earned him the big payday?? I disagree about the Bengals not being one of them... They really don't have a #2 receiver on the team besides him...
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30 is not that bad TJ I could still see playing at a high level for atleast 4 more years....they can give him a big contract that pays him now and makes him expandable if age catches up.

I can see it for TJ, the guy has been an amazing pro but he'll be 31 at season start. How much money do they tie up in guys over 30? They have Willie, 33, with a big deal. Chad. Reggie is 31 this season, Bobbie Williams is 32 this season. Then there is Levi and Rudi, both 29 early this season. Lots of money already committed to NFL senior citizens. Fact is the offense skill positions needs to be renewed with young guys in this draft and next. But there is no rush here on TJ, they can wait awhile and see what develops with the draft and who of their elderly are still around come September.

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The way i see it Housh is not a number 1 receiver, he is great and all but if you watch some games youll see he gets open cause Chads always catching that double team/triple team, leaving Housh with little or no coverage..now when housh is covered he usually gets layed out trying to make the big play which takes balls..something Chad doesn't have..so through the pros and cons of it all id still take Housh over Chad but i see his production dropping FAST if hes alone with no Chad since he WILL be the number 1 and i believe he wont be worth he wants if he gets the big bucks and Chad splits.

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