Aug 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis watches from the sidelines during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Cincinnati 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
You can say a lot of things about Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. One of the things that he accomplished during the end of his career in Cincinnati was to use Twitter and other social media outlets in an effort to give fans and media members access to him and other NFL personalities. Johnson not only revolutionized the "trash-talking NFL wide receiver", but also how NFL players use these social media platforms.
We all saw how Johnson/Ochocinco used these outlets during the "Hard Knocks" documentary, following the Bengals during the 2009 preseason. If you remember, much of what Johnson did through these platforms drew the ire of head coach Marvin Lewis. That ire continued through this preseason with Lewis really clamping down on his young team from using Twitter. Joe Reedy with The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Lewis has loosened the reigns on his players.
Back on July 26th, surrounding the commencement of the team's Training Camp, Lewis set strict rules on his players "tweeting". In a strange and sudden contrast to those strict rules, Lewis is allowing his players to use Twitter once again. Lewis recently said:
"I know it’s a great way to link to our fans, our season ticket holders and a lot of (the players) have things they’re responsible for trying to do for foundations, etc… I think it’s the right thing to do as long as they handle it the correct way and go about our business correctly. Social media is a great link to reach out to the fans, the season ticket holders and so forth both locally and nationally. We were able to come to that conclusion."
Perhaps Lewis finally began to trust the character of his team to use Twitter responsibly. Perhaps that this was the plan all along, where he just didn't want aspects of Training Camp and practice leaked. We're not sure and Lewis didn't extrapolate. Count left tackle Andrew Whitworth as one of the guys in Lewis' corner regarding Twitter.
"Its important to reach out to the fans and everyone who supports us but guys know what we expect in the locker room of ourselves and each other and how to do our jobs," Whitworth said.
Keep an eye on your timeline, Twitter users. It's likely to get much more entertaining in the near future with Bengals players back to interacting.