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Bengals' Ochocinco, coach exchange verbal shots

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said he'll have surgery in the offseason for bone spurs in his left ankle.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said he'll have surgery in the offseason for bone spurs in his left ankle.

"I'm messed up bad right now," he said yesterday. "My ankle's killing me."

Ochocinco missed practice yesterday and said he expects to have a reduced role in the last two regular-season games, including Sunday's clash against visiting San Diego. The situation has evidently rankled head coach Marvin Lewis, who took a swipe at him during a conference call yesterday.

"Well, he's being his mopey self," Lewis said. "Hopefully he can pull himself out of it and move forward. When things don't go Chad's way, this is kind of what happens."

Asked how he deals with it, Lewis said, "I don't deal with it. We just move on, all right? We'll put a new guy in there. If he's not ready to go on Sunday we'll have somebody in there ready to go, and go from there."

Ochocinco heard about Lewis' comments and fired back on Twitter: "This is how they treat you when you hurt, the things you don't get to see as fans."

He was just getting started, fuming about his coach's words again in a subsequent tweet before adding in another post: "Did anyone get the license plate to the bus I was just threw under"?

Their season has been roadkill for quite some time.

The Bengals (3-11) dropped 10 in a row, tying the franchise record for longest losing streak in a season. As things got bad, receiver Terrell Owens - the other half of the receiving duo - began questioning the coaching. Owens tore cartilage in his left knee 2 weeks ago, aggravated it during a slump-busting win over Cleveland on Sunday, and had surgery a day later.


* Indianapolis receiver Austin Collie suffered a concussion Sunday against Jacksonville, and has been placed on injured reserve.

Collie was injured late in the first half against Jacksonville when linebacker Daryl Smith appeared to hit him in the head with his forearm as Collie went low to make a catch. It was his second concussion of the season.

* The 49ers will start Troy Smith at quarterback against St. Louis on Sunday, according to a report.

The San Francisco Chronicle, citing two sources, reported that Smith will get the nod over Alex Smith, who has started the last two games after missing five games with a separated left shoulder.

* Denver quarterback Kyle Orton said he has been told Tim Tebow will start the next two games, beginning with Sunday's clash against Houston.

Orton, who said his bruised ribs were almost healed, signed an extension through 2011 last summer but said he's no longer sure of his role with the team. Tebow got his first start of the season in a loss to Oakland last week.

* A Cleveland spokesperson said rookie quarterback Colt McCoy sat out practice with an "illness" but is expected to return today.

* Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to practice and is expected to start Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Rodgers, who suffered his second concussion of the season 2 weeks ago in a game against Detroit, said he will wear a new helmet.

* New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was limited in practiced with a sore right shoulder, but insisted he'll start at Chicago Sunday whether or not he is 100 percent. The Jets (10-4) would clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Bears (10-4).

* San Diego said tight end Antonio Gates likely will sit out the final two games of the regular season to rest his injured right foot in case the Chargers make the playoffs.