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Lewis "Refutes" PFT Report That Bengals Considered Deactivating Owens For Final Three Games

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While Terrell Owens was in Birmingham, Alabama with Dr. James Andrews to have his left knee repaired Monday, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was forced to respond to a PFT report that the Bengals considered deactivating Owens for the final three games. According to Mike Florio, the Bengals were tiring of Owens' attitude and performance "in practice" and in games. Who would have thought that this could have become an issue? Next question. Alright.

According to Joe Reedy, Lewis "scoffed" at the report. Does that make the point, moot? Not that it's surprising that Lewis would deny, or scoff at the report. Lewis said:

"I don’t need to address it. Have I ever addressed anything in here from ProFootballTalk? I don’t even know where it is."

What's the head coach going to say about a player that won't be a problem anyway because of a season-ending injury? "Yea, he pissed us off so we thought about shutting him down for the season." Actually, I'm not sure Lewis has ever confirmed a single, albeit unsubstantiated report, that happened off the field. But then that's a good thing, as Lewis chuckles. Keeping adversity out of the media limits stories of potential controversy from spiraling out of control (See Shanahan, Mike).

Owens had a good year with the Bengals, often appearing as the only good offensive player on the team. Through 14 games, Owens leads the team with 72 receptions, 983 yards receiving and nine touchdowns. Chad Ochocinco only needs six receptions for 153 yards receiving against the Chargers and Ravens to surpass Owens' season, but it will obviously take him three more games (considering Owens left early with no receptions against the Browns) to do so.

Owens isn't expected to return in 2011, which means that the final two games this season will become critical for the team's younger receivers, likely being their final opportunity during regular season games to secure a spot on the team for next year. Chad Ochocinco will be entering an option year. If the Bengals elect not to pick it up, it will mean that the Bengals have to give Chad a $3.5 million payment to become an unrestricted free agent. However, the cost of bringing Ochocinco back in 2011 is a total salary of $6 million; a difference of only $2.5 million more than letting him leave for free agency.

So we're pretty comfortable in saying that Chad will be back.