C. Johnson calls out a few names

The Baltimore Sun

Chad Johnson wants to prove that the changes he has made extend far beyond his last name.

"It depends on what you mean," Johnson said yesterday. "My football ways will never change. Now my off-the-field issues? I don't have a choice but to put that stuff behind me."

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, who reportedly changed his legal surname to his previously self-promoted nickname - Ocho Cinco - would not be baited much yesterday in a conference call with reporters at the Ravens' complex in Owings Mills.

Asked about the name change, Johnson declined to discuss it.

"I don't want to talk about any names," he said.

That didn't stop Johnson from talking trash about Ravens linebacker Bart Scott and safety Dawan Landry.

"The last time we played, he [Scott] cussed me out and told me to stay out of his huddle, and I took offense to that, so this Sunday I am going to hit him in the mouth," Johnson said. "He's really rude."

As for Landry, Johnson said, "He's always trying to be a he-man when there's a running play."

In general, Johnson said he respects the Ravens' defense, particularly linebacker Ray Lewis, whom Johnson calls "my spiritual father."

Johnson credits Lewis with helping him achieve an inner peace when it comes to remaining with the Bengals and playing for Marvin Lewis.

"Ray is really the reason I'm happy, smiling and ready to go again," said Johnson, who broke his franchise record last season for receiving yards (1,440) despite injury and acrimony.

What did Ray Lewis tell him?

"He had me thinking about how I got to where I'm at, the things I went through, understanding the blessing it is to be where I am. There are millions of people that wished they were in my shoes doing what I do," Johnson said. "He told me to get back out here and smile all the time.

"It's worked for me."

Johnson said he understands his coach better than he did before.

"In the offseason, Coach Lewis did what he had to do because I was like a child who ran away from home. I was out of line," said Johnson, who tried to engineer a trade to the Washington Redskins and later sat out the team's workouts. "When I'm out of line, he's going to discipline me. He's going to stand up for this team and do what's right by them. I didn't leave him any choice."

Despite the new-found maturity, the old Johnson/Ocho Cinco persona still emerges.

Johnson said he would like to stir things up the moment he gets to M&T; Bank Stadium.

"I'm thinking about actually walking into their locker room and take it up a notch, and start something in there," Johnson said. "It's always fun. I'm going to keep on talking. I'm going to hit them late.

"I'm going to do everything I can just to tick them off."

Reed practices

Ed Reed practiced yesterday for the first time this summer without his red jersey, which had signified no contact with other players. The free safety is suffering from a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder.

Doctors have told him to rest a couple of weeks, Reed said. But Reed will attempt play in the season opener.

"If I feel like I can go out there and be effective, that's what I am going to do," Reed said. "But at the same time, I'm going to be smart and try to strengthen it as much as possible."

There is a possibility that the injury could cut short Reed's season.

"If it keeps lingering throughout the season, it definitely could come to some point to where we shut it down for the year, rest it and strengthen it over the next offseason," he said. "Right now, it's just focus on the day-to-day and try to get it better."

Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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