January 26, 2011
Chad Johnson is making a comeback. Three years after changing his last name to Ochocinco, the man born Chad Javon Johnson will be going back to his given surname.
"I've done enough with Ochocinco," the former Mr. Johnson told ESPN's Trey Wingo. Yes, like having the least productive stretch of his career since the name change became official.
Ochocinco didn't elaborate on why he was making the change, but given that his return to Cincinnati is questionable, the logical explanation is that he wants a fresh start wherever he ends up. That means no silly name changes and probably no fighting with his coach, like he's currently doing now. (If Ochocinco does stay in Cincinnati, he'd have to pay for the unsold "Ochocinco" jerseys.)
I didn't think it was possible for me to care about anything less than whether Brett Favre(notes) retired or not. Then Ochocinco announced the name re-change. Frankly, I feel used by this whole process. For months I resisted calling him Ochocinco because it was so preposterous and felt like when I asked all my friends to call me He-Man. Of course, I was in first grade at the time.
At some point, though, he became Ochocinco. Whether it was the repetition in hearing it or the fact that I had to write it here on Shutdown Corner, I don't know. It was a gradual process. Whenever it happened, it happened, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Nobody really wanted to call him Ochocinco but eventually we all did.
And isn't that the grand achievement in all this? He managed to make having "OCHOCINCO" on the back of his jersey so normal that it lost its absurdity. That's why he's going back to Johnson, not because he wants to mature, but because Ochocinco lost its shock value. Those teenage girls at the mall don't keep their pink hair forever either.
Don't stop mangling your Spanish quite yet, though. Ochocinco hasn't filed the paperwork yet for the name change and has gone back on this promise before. In 2009, he said he'd change it back if Darrelle Revis(notes) shut him down in a game. Revis did and Ochocinco didn't follow through.
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