Scott: Johnson couldn't bust a grape

OWINGS MILLS -- Chad Johnson threw down the verbal gauntlet to the Baltimore Ravens in his usual colorful fashion, jokingly promising to hit middle linebacker Ray Lewis in the mouth. Plus, the loquacious Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wide receiver forecasted a big box office show during Monday night's season opener at Paul Brown Stadium against the Ravens, one worthy of lots of popcorn.

Mainly, though, Johnson offered a twist on his usual brand of trash talking during a Thursday conference call with a few choice complaints about outspoken Ravens linebacker Bart Scott. Scott allegedly cussed out Johnson last season, offending his sensitive ears.

Now, Scott is another apparent target for Johnson, who's about the opposite of imposing at 6-foot-1, 192 pounds.

"When you see Bart, you tell him he don't have to be so damn rude," Johnson said sarcastically. "It's true, I'm serious. I'm trying to talk to everybody, Bart's cussing me out, telling me to get back in my huddle. I'm just trying to make friends man. No, I'm serious, Bart is mean."

When asked to elaborate, Johnson said that Scott told him, with several expletives attached, to return to his huddle.

"I'm just trying to talk friendly and he's just cursing me out, telling me to get my [butt] back in the huddle, [expletive] me. It's not funny. I'm serious. If he tries that again, I'm gonna hit him in the mouth."

Scott, who's roughly 50 pounds heavier than Johnson, wasn't exactly shaking in his cleats after being threatened by Johnson. And he clearly got the last word with this retort.

" Chad , he's such a nice guy," Scott said. "He wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight. I always call him the Dave Chappelle of football, non-stop entertainment and I wish him the best in his career outside of football when he gets to that comedy stage."

Scott, who was sporting his Madbacker T-shirt after practice, refuted the notion that he had crossed the line during his exchanges with Johnson, who's known for his imaginative touchdown celebrations.

"No, I'm a nice guy," Scott said. "This shirt is actually an oxymoron. I'm actually the nice happy 'backer. Whenever I see Chad , I'm always shooting him comments like, 'Hey, you look good in blond, cool mohawk, Gwen Stefani's mohawk is nothing compared to yours.' .. He's the football version of Taye Diggs."

Johnson, who described Lewis as his spiritual leader whom he talks to on the phone every week before games, said he didn't gripe to Lewis about his ongoing feud with Scott.

He claimed that Lewis is on an extensive hit list that includes safety Ed Reed, who nailed Johnson during an interception in the Ravens' 26-20 win over Cincinnati last season at M&T Bank Stadium.

"No I didn't tell Ray, because I'm going to hit Ray in the mouth, too," said Johnson, who referred to himself by his No. 85 jersey number as the self-described 'Ocho-Cinco' gave reporters a friendly Spanish greeting. "When that whistle does blow, I'm going to hit him in the mouth."

Johnson insisted that his trash-talking isn't a negative. He claimed that his intent is merely to distract opponents and motivate himself.

"My trash talking is not about your mama, about your kids, it's not like that," he said. "Whether I get in your head or not, you're not going to win the battle.

"That's my thought process. Regardless of what I say, you're not going to stop me. One person, two people, three, I don't care."

Johnson isn't all talk, though, when competing with Baltimore.

In a dozen games against the Ravens, he has caught 61 career passes for 922 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, he totaled 12 catches for 122 yards as the two teams split their divisional series en route to lead the NFL with 1,369 receiving yards.

Johnson predicted a prolific performance in this nationally-televised clash and a celebration to eclipse his previous 'Riverdance' and an epic pop-pom routine with the Ben-Gals cheerleaders.

"Oh, I'm going to give you a show," Johnson said. "You need to get some popcorn. It's like going to the movies. When you watch a horror movie, you sit on the edge of your seat and you don't know what's coming. That's the same thing when I'm playing, you don't know what's coming."

He's already offered to donate his anticipated fine from the "National No Fun League" to feed needy children in Africa.

However, Johnson didn't manage to score a touchdown against Baltimore last season.

Lewis said he reminded Johnson about that during a recent telephone conversation, saying, 'Suppose you all don't score,' which angered his friend so much that he couldn't get him off the phone for over an hour.

The Ravens seem to universally view Johnson as an amusing sideshow whose skills they take seriously.

"A lot of people try to complicate the game and take the fun away from it, but that's why the fans pay their money," Lewis said. "You can't send players out there and say, 'Hey, be robots.' Chad does nothing different than quarterbacks do when they run down the whole field with their fist in the air, jumping in people's laps."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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