Usually Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is the one trying to connect to wide receiver Chad Johnson. On Wednesday, it was Johnson who tried connecting with Palmer –- and others.
After Palmer told reporters in an open locker room session early Wednesday that Johnson assured him he will be back in Cincinnati for any mandatory camp, the Bengals receiver sounded off with his strongest comments to date about a holdout and his desire to play elsewhere.
"I will not be at any mandatory camp," a noticeably angry Johnson said. "I will not be at training camp. I will not be anywhere in Cincinnati.
"I'm not sure where Carson got his information from, but I know I didn't assure him of anything. I wish he'd stay out of this. He's taking how I'm feeling as a joke because I think everyone else in the organization is doing the same.
"But let me be as clear as I can about this. This is not a joke. I really don't want to play for the Bengals. Period."
Johnson's outburst is the latest in a line of comments to instigate a trade, but it marks the first time he and Palmer have disagreed so strongly, and so publicly. It comes 10 days before an NFL Draft in which Johnson wants to be traded in the worst possible way.
At least a few teams have approached the Bengals about a trade –- one even offered multiple first-day picks –- but Cincinnati's approach has not wavered. The team is as adamant about not trading Johnson as the seven-year veteran is adamant about not returning to Cincinnati.
Johnson felt insulted that Palmer spoke on his behalf Wednesday, leading the five-time Pro Bowler to offer more words of his own.
"I'm the reason everything went down the drain," Johnson said. "So I want to make sure they have no more probems with me. Get me out."