The former Chad Ochocinco, who recently changed his name back to the original Johnson for marriage considerations, is dealing with a lot of change now. Not only has the receiver altered his Facebook status to "in a relationship," but after one season with the New England Patriots, Johnson has decided to go back to his old, braggadocious self. Chad was relatively quiet in New England after years of goofiness in Cincinnati, but that's all gone now. In a Monday interview with the Miami Herald, His Chadness went off the hook.
"This season is going to be a monster year," Johnson said. "I don't care who's playing quarterback. I'm going to have a great year. The first day I get to camp, everybody's mouth can drop [the bleep] open. My game is at the point where it doesn't matter who starts at quarterback. Oprah can play quarterback and we'll be all right."
That's a bit hard to believe after Chad put up his worst NFL season with the Patriots in 2011. In an offense and with a quarterback that generally makes stars out of average players, and mega-talents out of the great ones, Chad slipped into oblivion, catching just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown. Chad clearly struggled with New England's option route concept after years of a more freewheeling offense in Cincy, and as a result, he never developed an on-field relationship with Tom Brady. He was classy to a fault through that season, though, which makes his reflections on that time all the more curious now.
"I'm going back to my normal ways," he vowed after a photo shoot for Zico Coconut Water. "My normal ways, when I was at my best, when I got fined, look at the production those years. Usually things don't go right when you try to change the way you do things. I'm back to normal.
"My personality was controlled last year. You didn't hear me at all last year. Zero. Zilch. When my mouth is running, it forces me to perform. It's never been vindictive. I never got anybody in trouble.
"One of the things I like about being here, that's so refreshing, and is such a weight off my back, is I can be me, whatever that entails. When I can be me, I am loose. Everything just flows for me. Whether it's the style of play, the way I learn."
Chad might be getting his correlation and causation mixed up. When he played for the Bengals from 2001-2010, he could afford to be mouthy, because he was on top of his game and extremely productive. That attitude might have loosened him up on the field, and he may have gotten in the heads of certain defenders with the trash talk, but things are a bit different now.
To his credit, Chad has been working hard this offseason to prove that he's still got game. He recently completed a hardcore 10-day training session with performance coach Charlie Collins. As with everything else in his life these days, Chad couldn't wait to talk about it
"Do you want to be honest? Do you want to know why my numbers dropped?" he said, when asked why things will be different in 2012 with another new team. "It's because I got complacent, I got somewhat comfortable thinking I had the formula and could do it on my own.
"I know how I've been to six Pro Bowls. It's Charles [bleeping] Collins. Case closed. My preparation with him, before the season started, is what got me to Pro Bowls. Getting back with him has me mentally prepared to be the same again.
"People base it off numbers. My numbers last year would tell everyone this [expletive] is done. But there's nothing wrong with me physically. You will see with your own eyes. You will see the speed, the quickness. It's ridiculous."
Off the field, it certainly is. We can but wait and see if Chad can still be ridiculous when it's game time.
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