Ochocinco optimistic about 2009

CINCINNATI -- Optimism is running extremely high with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.

But leave it to receiver Chad Ochocinco to take the team's optimism several notches higher.

"It's going to be a great year; we're going to the playoffs," Ochocinco guaranteed during Thursday's opening of mandatory minicamp. "We're going ... We're making progress. I mean, I see it, and I can come out on a limb and say what we're going to do."

Ochocinco said he's happy, his mind is clear and everything feels right with the 2009 Bengals. The former Pro Bowler spent most of the offseason working out independently in Los Angeles before joining the team and looks in great shape.

Ochocinco also said this year's team has as much or more talent than the 2005 Bengals, which was the last time Cincinnati made the postseason.

Quarterback Carson Palmer and other members of the Bengals have expressed similar excitement -- minus the playoff guarantee of course. But based on his comments and loose demeanor in the locker room Thursday, it appears Ochocinco is feeling like his old self again.

"I got to go back to having fun, and I'm going to have fun this year," Ochocinco promised. "I'm telling you that ahead of time."

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.