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Week 3 in the NFL

It's Payback Time for Bengals, Colts

September 24, 2006|SAM FARMER

Two video clips are making the rounds in AFC locker rooms this week, and both could be considered inspirational material for teams.

One features Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher leading his team in a sarcastic version of Cincinnati's "Who-dey?" cheer after a victory over the Bengals. The teams face each other today.

The other clip, also from last season, shows Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich making an obscene gesture toward John Teerlinck, Indianapolis' defensive line coach, during a 10-3 loss to the Colts. Those teams, too, meet today.

Leftwich now concedes he's "kind of disappointed that I did that," but said he doesn't expect any hard feelings. "Just the heat of the battle," he said. "He's probably forgot about it."

The Bengals certainly haven't forgotten Cowher's mocking cheer, even though Cincinnati Coach Marvin Lewis told reporters this week that he hadn't seen the footage. (It was Lewis, however, who cued up the tape for his players in the locker room.)

NFL Films cameras caught Cowher leading the chant in the postgame celebration after the Steelers defeated the Bengals, 31-17, in an AFC wild-card game in January, the same game Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a serious knee injury.

"Who-dey?" Cowher yelled to his players, invoking the cheer that's short for "Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?"

"Wee-dey!" his players screamed back in unison.

Cowher repeated the cheer in the team's Super Bowl victory parade. But at the NFL owners meetings two months later, he was sheepish about it.

"I'm sure the first time we play next year, I will have to relive everything I did, and I will regret that," he said. "And I will apologize at the time. It wasn't done with disrespect, it was probably done out of respect."

The Bengals don't necessarily see it that way.

"I didn't like it," Cincinnati receiver Chad Johnson said after the team was shown the video Wednesday. "I thought it was very rude."

No Regular Joe

The Colts still miss Edgerrin James, but rookie running back Joseph Addai is doing a nice job of picking up the offense. So far, he has been more productive than starting tailback Dominic Rhodes.

"He's off to a good start," quarterback Peyton Manning said of Addai, who has gained 108 yards in 23 carries. " ... He is being thrown right in there on all downs, goal line, critical third downs. It's not like we're pulling him out, 'Hey, he might not be ready for this.' He's right in there."

Wish You Were Here

Kansas City quarterback Trent Green is absolutely, positively coming back. The Chiefs are pretty sure of it.

Green, who suffered a serious concussion in the opener, cannot drive a car or throw a football. All he can do is rest, and wait, as he recovers.

Doctors put Green through a battery of neurological tests this week, and the Chiefs offered no timetable for his return.

"We're confident he's coming back," Coach Herman Edwards told reporters. "When he's coming back ... nobody knows."

Doing More With Less

When Denver posted a 9-6 overtime victory over Kansas City last Sunday, it was only the second time in franchise history that the Broncos won without scoring a touchdown. That prompted a players-only meeting the next day at team headquarters.

"You can't really hide from anybody when you're all together and everyone's watching the same plays," rookie tight end Tony Scheffler told reporters. "Everybody criticized each other and it was just, 'Get better.' "

Playing Heap-Away

It's only natural for Baltimore Ravens fans to want the ball in the hands of Todd Heap, the team's outstanding tight end. But statistics show that throwing more passes to Heap is not necessarily a formula for winning.

The Ravens usually have a better record when Heap is less involved as a receiver. They are 12-3 when he has one catch or none; 15-12 when he has two to four receptions; and 8-18 when he has five or more.

-- SAM FARMER

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