Houshmandzadeh: Playing For Pride

Bengals wide receiver participated in a conference call with the Indianapolis media earlier this week. He talked about his friend on the Colts, Keiwan Ratliff, his respect for the Colts' defenders, the long-time relationship he has built with college and pro teammate Chad Johnson, his future in Cincinnati, the tough season his team has endured, and more!

On how he is doing:

"I'm doing alright. I'm a little crushed mentally, but I have gotten over that, a while ago. So I just have fun now, have fun."

On his putting up good numbers despite the team's lack of success:

"I take pride in that I try to play well, of course. That's what you play for, when you're at this point in the season, you play because it's fun and you play for pride. Basically, that's it. And we play to try to spoil teams like Indianapolis' chances for the playoffs. And that's what you play for. When you're having a bad season, anybody, if they tell you any differently, they're lying to you because it's the right thing to say. When you're playing bad, you try to just play very well as an individual when you're playing bad as a team."

On he and DB-Keiwan Ratliff looking forward to this game:

"Rat's my guy. Since Rat got here, I thought he was a really good player. While he's in Indy, I like to see him do well because I think Rat can play, he just needs to get an opportunity and he has to know that if he does make a mistake, the coach is not going to pull him. I mean, he's had rough times in Indy by being released so many times, but the chances he's gotten to play, he's played well."

On if it has been tough weathering the storms, from the team's off-the-field problems to now struggling on the field:

"You can always handle things off the field. I don't know if that sounds right, but you can handle those things, you can deal with those things. I would rather have things off the field than be losing on the field, I can tell you that for sure. When you're losing on the field, it's just a terrible feeling. Your intensity level is not where it should be, and that shouldn't be the case, but that's what it is. When guys get in trouble, it's hard to get in trouble, it's easy to do the right thing. So I would prefer to have those things and be winning on the field. Obviously you would prefer to have both, but if you can take one or the other, I would prefer to win on the field and have the problems and just deal with the distractions."

On WR-Chad Johnson's numbers being down and if this will be his last season with Johnson:

"One way or the other it will be, I think, whether it's him or me. Chad, it's just been a rough year for everybody. My numbers are down, his numbers are down. Mine are not as down as his are, but it's because I'm able to move from different spots on the field and Chad just doesn't do that. I can play the ‘X', the ‘Z', the ‘Y', I can play every position on the field and Chad just doesn't do that, and so that's why it's different. I don't know what's going to happen, Chad doesn't know what's going to happen, none of us can control it. But if we continue to play again, I promise you when they say who the best receivers are on one team, we will be mentioned again if we are playing together next year."

On his future with Cincinnati and not thinking he will be back:

"If you work at the Indianapolis Star and you had a three-year contract and your contract was up at the end of December, and you didn't get another contract, what would you think prior to that? So you put yourself in my position, I just automatically assume that I'm not going to be here. It is what it is. I'm not bitter. I got the opportunity to play in Cincinnati. It's the team that drafted me and the only team to give me an opportunity, and if I stay here, great, we'll make it happen, and if I don't, I look forward to make it happen somewhere else. But it's so far away."

On the motivation and finding positives, and if spoiling the Colts' season is the motivation:

"Yes. They're playing for the wild card right now. Baltimore, Indy, New England, there's a lot of teams fighting for that wild card spot, and if we can affect that, it makes it feel like we've done something. Our season has not gone the way we would have liked, but we can try to throw a monkey wrench in somebody else's plans. It's happened to us, and so why not do it to somebody else?"

On finding positives and motivation where you can:

"Indy's a good team. The defense, all those boys can just flat-out move around, they fly, they can run. I think psycho-Bob (Sanders) will be back and it should be fun."

On if he will be looking around for Sanders:

"No, I'm not worried about that. If he hits me, he hits me. I can take it. Just the way he plays, kamikaze style, like he has two bodies. He can hurt one and go get another one."

On what has happened to the offense:

"Obviously, Carson (Palmer) is a big deal. If (Indianapolis) lost Peyton (Manning), I'm sure it would be similar. You might have a few more wins, but it would be something similar. Carson is a big deal, the fact that we're not running the ball very effectively is a big deal, the fact that I think we've given up more sacks this year than the last two years combined is a big deal. And so when you have all those things, you just can't effectively play good football when you're making a lot of mistakes. You can't do it."

On he and Chad Johnson playing together in college and having a good run together:

"Me and Chad have been playing football together for nine, 10 years, and I don't know how many guys can say that, that they played together in college and then they get to the NFL and they play together. And we've played well, and we play the same position. I'm sure there's not too many guys throughout the history of the league that have done that. We just look forward to doing it more, and if not, I'm sure he'll watch me if I leave and I'll watch him, vice versa. Whoever leaves, if it does happen, we'll always watch each other because I want him to do well and I'm sure he would like me to do well also."

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