SAN DIEGO -- Chad Ochocinco wants to fight Shawne Merriman.
Merriman says that if anything happens between the two star players Sunday, it will be just like his nickname: Lights Out.
Ochocinco, the unpredictable Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, went off about the Chargers' outside linebacker during a conference call with San Diego reporters Wednesday. The Chargers (10-3) will play host to the Bengals (9-4) on Sunday in a meeting of division leaders, with the winner securing a playoff spot.
Ochocinco and Merriman ran some smack against each other during a Twitter exchange earlier this year. They apparently have a history going back to 2006 when Ochocinco, then known as Chad Johnson, mockingly did Merriman's spasmodic "Lights Out" sack dance after scoring against San Diego in a game at Cincinnati. Merriman wasn't even in the stadium; he was serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for steroids.
Ochocinco went off when asked if their Twitter exchange was in fun.
"I will beat Shawne's head in, right now," he said. "It's not even fun. This is not in fun. This is personal. Bring it on. It is what it is. I think he might be one of the only people I don't really get along with. I want to fight. I'm not sure how to get the fight on without him suing me."
How did this happen?
"I don't know," Ochocinco said. "You just have somebody that, like, you have the itch, you just want to fight? That's what it's come to. I just want to fight."
And when did this start?
"I think back when we played last time," Ochocinco continued. "I can't remember. I don't know. You know what, I think I copied his dance after I scored, and I think it pissed him off."
Ochocinco is 6-foot-1, 192 pounds. Merriman is 6-4, 265.
Asked if Merriman would be a tough guy to fight, Ochocinco said: "Tough? Why? That's not how I look at things. I'll whoop his ass, right now, like Will Ferrell. Yeah, like in `Step Brothers.'"
Merriman sent Ochocino a twitpic of the two players' faces superimposed over those of actors Ferrell and John C. Reilly in an advertisement for the movie "Step Brothers" with the message, "see u sunday."
"I'm not going to really explain the seriousness of it or where it's at or how serious it is because we're a few days away from Sunday," Merriman said.
What kind of fight would it be?
"It would be a joke, man," Merriman said. "It's like a little kid, you hold out your hand and you hold their head, and they swing, you know, and they can't do anything. It's one of those things."
Merriman mentioned the 2006 game when Ochocinco did the "Lights Out" dance.
"Coming from him, disrespect," Merriman said.
Merriman jokingly wondered if he could play cornerback against Ochocinco. The two are sure to meet up sometime on the field.
"I'll get him at some point," Merriman said. "It's going to be a good game all around. I don't want to make this Ocho's deal at all because it's not. He's just running his mouth, I guess. But because of our position and this opportunity we put ourselves back into, I think it's going to be a heck of a battle."
Whatever happens, Merriman said it won't be serious enough to attract NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's attention.
"Roger has nothing to worry about in this case," Merriman said. "I'll keep it legal -- as possible."
Earlier this month, the NFL fined Ochocinco $30,000 after he briefly donned a mock poncho and a sombrero next to the bench following his touchdown catch during a 23-13 victory over the Detroit Lions. That's $10,000 more than the fine he received for pretending to bribe an official during a game earlier this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press