So the latest from the blogosphere is that our old pal, Chad Ochocinco has finally found the time in his busy jet-setting scheduled to make an appearance in the ‘Nati, and he’s trying to hook up with the boys for some players-only work-outs.
Yes, the soccer fetish has subsided for now, and the urban cowboy routine has grown tiresome. Apparently his boxing regimen, reality TV shows, Terrelle Pryor P.R. campaigns and red carpet appearances have dried up for the time being, so he thought he’d go ahead and do the thing that, you know, got him his fame and fortune.
Today Chad sent some tweets to Jerome Simpson advising him of his arrival, as well as a facebook post or two. No doubt these public-private messages are meant not just for ‘Rome to see, but more to generate fan interest and blog posts (whoops!).
I cannot say that I’m happy about the fact that I’m writing in this space about Chad. He does tend to cause nausea for me on a routine basis lately. As many fans will point out, once the man’s name changed from Johnson to Ochocinco, he went from being an actually quite good wide receiver to a charicature of himself and a whore for TV cameras and the spotlight. All the while, his performance on the field withered and his status as an elite player vanished. He seemed to shrug off the embarrassment of his performance in the 2009 playoffs against Darrell Revis, and followed that up by willingly taking a back seat to uber-diva Terrell Owens. All the while he could be counted on to whine incessantly on the field, throw his hands up in frustration, cut routes off, lose his footing on his breaks, and most astonishingly, drop pass after pass after pass in the open.
These changes have coincided with a nose-dive in Bengaldom’s public opinion of him. Most these days seem to assume his days in Cincy are numbered, and the general perception seems to be “good riddance.” Marvin Lewis’ public comments seem to suggest he’s already moved on and doesn’t feel the need to see gold teeth on his sideline in 2011.
But that’s not the only opinion out there. Our own Bill explored why Chad could be back in stripes this season, focusing mostly on the power the dark lord sith, Mike Brown, has and how he traditionally wields it.
To me, this could go either way. There are certainly good reasons to cast Chad aside once the CBA issue is resolved.
For one thing, you don’t want a diva of his magnitude in the locker room distracting all the young talent the Bengals have been quietly stock-piling. Chad’s cornerback lists, and press conference comedy shows aren’t exactly the professional example for guys like Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, and A.J. Green to follow.
Chad’s very presence on the roster means some young player like Simpson, Andre Caldwell, or Shipley will be inactive on Sundays, stunting their development. Not to mention it potentially puts the fate of young Andy Dalton’s career in the hands of a self-centered egomaniac.
Once the business of the NFL resumes, Chad could be traded for future draft picks or players at more needed positions. Teams like the Falcons, Raiders, Redskins, or Patriots even might be interested.
But here’s an alternate perspective: What if Chad is really back? What if the Ocho’s bi-polar personality is ready to revert back to the player that once dominated the AFC and made spectacular catches each and every week?
There is a chance, however slight, that Chad is ready to refocus on what he’s actually good at, and without the corruptive influence of T.O. or T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and perhaps with a more empowered Marvin Lewis and fiery quarterback in Dalton, he now has the formula again necessary for his professional success.
Perhaps he’s even ready at this stage in his career to spend one final year giving the city of Cincinnati something to cheer for, while spending a season passing the baton on to younger and more dynamic players. Perhaps he’d embrace the role of grizzled veteran mentor.
After all, sooner or later, no one will care what he tweets or posts on facebook, and his act has already grown tiresome for most of us. He’s got to know that in his heart too. He also has to realize that at his advanced age, his window of opportunity is getting razor thin. It’s time to put up or shut up—for once.
Whether Mike Brown or Marvin Lewis will give him that chance, and whether he takes it, is up for debate, but we’ll soon find out.
The fact is that he’s here. The Ocho has landed.