Steelers are amused by Ochocinco's antics

| Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Steelers defensive backs apparently won't be getting mustard sent to them in advance of Sunday's AFC North showdown at Heinz Field.

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has told Chad Ochocinco to refrain from a gesture similar to the one the star wideout made last week when he sent deodorant to the Baltimore Ravens.

Ochocinco posted on his Twitter account that he planned to mail mustard to the Steelers' practice facility because their defensive backs wouldn't be able to "ketch-up" with him.

Starting free safety Ryan Clark said he would be offended if the Steelers didn't get the gift that one of the NFL's biggest hot dogs had promised for them.

"If he doesn't send us anything, that means he doesn't respect us, that's how I feel," Clark said. "You send it to Baltimore because you respect them and feel like you have to go out and play a good game and you need those types of antics to do well. I'm pleading, 'Chad, please send it to us.'"

Lewis said he asked Ochocinco not to send the Steelers mustard because, "I just don't think it needs to be part of any focus or the questioning."

The Steelers and Bengals are each 6-2 and tied for first place in the AFC North. The magnitude of this game hasn't taken the focus off Ochocinco, in part because the six-time Pro Bowler is as adept at self-promotion as he is at getting open.

In no particular order, Ochocinco has raced a horse, changed his last name, mock-proposed to a cheerleader after scoring a touchdown and become the NFL's most notorious tweeter this side of Larry Johnson.

As Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said of Ochocinco, "He acts like he's 19 and he plays like his body's 20."

Ochocinco averaged a career low 10.2 yards per catch last season, had his string of 1,000-yard receiving seasons snapped at six and nearly succeeded in talking his way out of Cincinnati.

Rejuvenated by the return of Palmer, who missed most of last season with an elbow injury, and the Bengals' sizzling start, Ochocinco is back to his old self.

He leads the Bengals, who have started 4-0 in division play for the first time in franchise history, in most major receiving categories.

Ochocinco also has drawn attention to himself away from the field with Twitter posts that the Steelers seem to regard as harmless fun.

"All that's cool," Clark said. "It adds excitement to the game. It's not going to make me try to knock him out more than I was going to do anyway."

Said cornerback Ike Taylor, who limited Ochocinco to five catches for 54 yards last month in Cincinnati, "Next time I hope he sends me a gift card to Capital Grille or something. Get me a free meal if he's going to get me something. Other than that, it's all fun and games."

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