Chad checks in
FOXBOROUGH -- Bengals receiver Chad Johnson held a conference call with the New England media today (1:15 p.m.). Unlike last year, when he asked the media to pass along some playful, trash-talking messages to safety Rodney Harrison and cornerback Asante Samuel, he kept things low key.
"Rodney is not playing?" Johnson asked. "Then I don't have any messages."
Yet Johnson did have one message for Bill Belichick.
"Tell Coach I said I love him, and that I'm looking forward to a great challenge," he said. "This is more than a football game. This is going to be a chess match. I don't really think it's between the players. This is a chess match for the coaches, who is going to make the right moves at the right time."
Johnson shared some strong feelings on the NFL's investigation into the Patriots' videotaping procedures.
"That videotaping thing, it doesn't matter," he said passionately. "OK, say you do know the signals. You still have to go out and execute the defense. Forget that. Take the cameras away -- you're talking about a great football team that has great coaches. Throw that camera bull out the window. They'd be 3-0 right now regardless of that damn camera."
Told he might be in the minority based on other comments made by players around the league, Johnson said: "Be for real. Be for real. They're a great team offensively and defensively. They are a great team and there is a reason why they are where they are. It's not because of no damn camera."
Johnson said he didn't have any celebrations planned, because the Bengals are 1-2 and it's not a time for celebrations.
Near the end of the 16-minute call, Johnson was asked his thoughts on playing Monday night. The bright lights and nationally televised audience seemed made for him, he was told.
"Most definitely," he said playfully. "It's one thing to already love the game, but to give me the spotlight on Monday night to play, you just don't do those things."
PRACTICE REPORT: Every Patriots player was present for the media-access portion of today's practice. ... The media was present for stretching and one set of warmup drills. ... The workout was held in full pads.