CINCINNATI (Sept. 20, 2006) -- Chad Johnson says the Cleveland Browns were out to get him from the very first snap.
The Pro Bowl receiver had his helmet knocked off by Brian Russell on the Cincinnati Bengals' last pass play during their 34-17 victory Sept. 17 at Paul Brown Stadium. Johnson was groggy and needed about a half-dozen stitches to close a gash in his chin after the hit.
The chatty receiver said Russell had warned him that the Browns were out to get him.
"He told me last year, and he told me before the game (Sunday) that him and Andra Davis, they had one job to do," Johnson said. "It wasn't about trying to stop me, but they had to hit me. At every TV timeout, I would be in their huddle talking trash: 'Nobody's hit me yet, what's going on?'
"Finally, I think, in the last three minutes he finally got that hit. He let me know ahead of time."
Johnson said he has no hard feelings over the hit, which he described as a clean shot.
"I mean, it's the first time I've been hit in six years of playing the game," Johnson said. "It's about time someone's gotten a lick."
Johnson has aggravated opponents over the years by guaranteeing wins, wearing a Terrible Towel as a bib, sending Pepto-Bismol to Browns defensive backs and denigrating cornerbacks with his who-covered-me list. He said he's not surprised someone went after him.
"I've always been a target because of what I'm doing right now, talking trash," he said. "The hard part is trying to hit the target. I've always been able to avoid everything coming my way. I left myself vulnerable by jumping in the air at that present time, which is the only reason he was able to get that clean shot."