Ravens vow not to go where Ochocinco went with Twitter

Bengals wide receiver's in-game tweeting is the talk of the NFL

August 25, 2010|Kevin Cowherd

You gotta love Chad Ochocinco. The man doesn't just push the envelope. He tears the envelope into little pieces and laughs in your face.

The Bengals wide receiver has been fined $25,000 for posting messages on Twitter during Cincinnati's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Oh, you know how it is. Sometimes in the middle of a football game, a guy's just got to pull out his phone and let people know what's going on in his life.

First, Ochocinco tweeted during warm-ups: "Just talk with Kelly Washington, Desean Jackson, Geoff Pope, Hank Baskett and I caught a ball from Mike Vick, I love prw-game warm up."

Then he tweeted about two hours into the game, after taking a big hit: "Man Im sick of getting hit like that, it's the damn preseason (expletive)! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing haymakers, #Tylenolplease."

Of course, the good news for the Bengals is that at least he didn't tweet while running a pass pattern.

Or while actually catching a pass.

Because then he probably would have had to put the phone down. And risk having it stepped on by some big, clumsy linebacker who was covering him.

In any event, news of Ochocinco's latest stunt circulated at the Castle in Owings Mills on Wednesday, where the Ravens were practicing for Saturday's third preseason game, against the New York Giants.

"That's a no-no -- everybody knows that," cornerback Fabian Washington said of Ochocinco's historic tweets, the first by a player during an NFL game. "If it was anybody else, it probably would have surprised me. But not with him. He probably was bored and just wanted something to do."

Sure, that was probably it.

It was either tweet or break out the Xbox 360 for some video games.

Washington is part of a small group of Ravens who tweet, a group that includes running backs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, defensive backs Domonique Foxworth, Prince Miller and Ken Hamlin, and offensive lineman Michael Oher.

They say they know the game-day rules: NFL players are prohibited from posting messages on social media sites starting 90minutes before kickoff.

And that rule stays in effect until all post-game media obligations have been met.

"My phone is the last thing on my mind when I'm out on the football field," said Miller, a rookie free agent from Georgia.

The Ravens also attend a mandatory seminar each training camp that could be titled "Don't Do Anything Stupid with Twitter or Any Other Social Media -- Ever."

The seminar is conducted by Kevin Byrne, the team's crack PR guru. And the gist of Byrne's message is this: "What you tweet, what you say, is instant. There are no more bridges."

Washington says he mainly uses Twitter to stay in touch with Ravens fans "and show my comedic side."

"I'm a homebody," he said. "It gives me something to do when I'm at home."

He says about 11,000 people follow his tweets.

"The main two things Ravens fans want to know," he said, "are how's my knee?" -- he's returning from surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament -- "and how's the team doing?"

"I don't talk too much about the team," he said, "like who's injured, who's playing, who's starting. You can't talk too much about that 'cause that's giving away vital information that other teams can use against you."

Well, maybe.

But the only information Ochocinco was giving away during that Bengals-Eagles game was this: I have way too much free time on my hands.

Not that Ochocinco was exactly torn up about the $25,000 fine.

Naturally, he decided to share his feelings about the fine with the league. And naturally, he chose to do this via Twitter.

"Dear NFL," he tweeted this week, "I apologize for tweeting during the game but that was 2 months of my Bugati payments you just took from me, I won't do it again."

Tell me something: What kind of a country do we live in when a guy can't even tweet during a football game without worrying about falling behind on his car payments?

What is this, Yemen?

But by the next day, an even more contrite Ochocinco was waxing philosophical and looking for an out in another tweet to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

"@nflcommish Dad," he began, "again I apologize 2 you for my tweet, as my father I understand you've to discipline, can we try a timeout next time please :)."

Oh, is this guy beautiful or what?

He's always been a one-man circus on and off the field.

And now he's got a smart phone.

The possibilities are endless.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

Listen to Kevin Cowherd from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays with Jerry Coleman on Fox 1370 AM Sports.

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