Ocho Cinco absent from workouts

CINCINNATI -- Bengals receiver Chad Ocho Cinco was absent from the start of the team's offseason program Monday, quarterback Carson Palmer said.

After a down year in 2008, Palmer and the Bengals hoped Ocho Cinco would be present.

"I'm not worried about him; I'm worried about the guys we have here," Palmer said at a news conference Monday. "The guys that want to be here and want to work now are the guys who are in the locker room right now and are here today."

Despite Palmer's confirmation, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis would not say what players were present. Palmer did sound more upbeat when asked about other receivers such as Laveranues Coles, who was present.

Last year Ocho Cinco caused a major stir by skipping "voluntary" workouts and publicly stating his desire to be traded. It is not known if this absence is again hinting that he wants out of Cincinnati. Ocho Cinco has not been in contact with the Bengals recently.

Last year Cincinnati passed up trade offers because the team was unwilling to take an $8 million salary-cap hit. This year that cap number is reduced to $4.87 million to trade Ocho Cinco, making it more of a possibility.

Ocho Cinco, 31, is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, recording just 53 catches for 540 yards and four touchdowns. He also was deactivated for a November game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for violating a team rule.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.