Marvin Lewis is one of Chad Ochocinco's most ardent supporters, but even the Cincinnati head coach can get a little weary of his candid wide receiver.
Twice during his teleconference with Baltimore media Wednesday, Lewis referred to Ochocinco as "knucklehead." Maybe that's a term of endearment between the two, but Lewis seemed to do his best to take Ochocinco down a couple notches.
Asked to compare Ochocinco's and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' approach to football, Lewis, a former Ravens defensive coordinator, said, "Well, that's the perception because knucklehead has to have fun. He didn't get the attention [that Lewis did]. He didn't go to the University of Miami. He didn't have that attention growing up. He kind of dances to a different drummer a little bit that way. But as far as the game and practice and everything, he's as intense in practice as Ray is. And I think that's what helped him play well. He practices [hard]. I have to pull him out of practices, I have to pull him out of plays against the defense because he wants to take every rep in practice. So that part, they kind of share that. I think Chad really looks to Ray for guidance, and I think that's a good thing. Ray has helped him do some of his sideways acting a lot and to keep him mindful of what's important."
In praising former Bengals and current Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Lewis again singled out Ochocinco, saying, "[Houshmandzadeh is] one of the guys who also helped the knucklehead receiver I got here to do better."
Finally, Lewis said he usually gets a copy of Ochocinco's comments on Twitter, which he compared to "gibberish."
"The only thing I tell him is, just be careful," Lewis said. "Realize it's not just adults reading this. Sometimes, it's young kids reading this. So you don't curse around here. Don't curse, acting tough in your Twittering, trying to act like you're tough because you're not. Just watch your language that way and represent yourself the way you want to represent yourself. You have built an amazing reputation, and don't take anything away from it."
*Lewis said there's no need to add any more importance to Sunday's game against the Ravens. "It's a divisional football game, and they're a team in the division," he said. "They're picked to win the division. So we're going to play on Sunday. Every time we play a division game, I think there's a little bit of a rivalry. Obviously, I coached at places in the division, so it kind of makes it a little different."
*Lewis downplayed the notion that the reigning AFC North division champion Bengals are frothing at the mouth to knock off the Ravens, a preseason favorite to win the division. "No, I don't even think our guys know that," Lewis said. "But people tell me. You guys give these players too much credit."
*Lewis said Ray Lewis was a leader as soon as the Ravens drafted him in 1996. "I can remember him walking in front of those windows at the old place in Owings Mills and the people coming in the door with him walking behind him," Lewis recalled. "And I just thought, 'That was interesting.'"
*Lewis lauded Houshmandzadeh for his character and contributions to the Bengals franchise. "T.J. had a lot to do with the success of things here and the way people feel about things here," Lewis said, adding that he and Houshmandzadeh still text each other. "He's obviously well-loved here."
*Lewis agreed that Cincinnati must avoid the early hole the team found itself in when the Patriots led, 24-3, at halftime. "The way we played last week, we need a lot of help," Lewis said.