From Corey Dillon to Randy Moss, the New England Patriots have discovered a unique ability to take players perceived as malcontents in other circumstances and get them on point with a winning perspective. Now that receiver Chad Ochocinco is a Patriot, having been traded from the Cincinnati Bengals for a couple of low draft picks this week, will he step in line and play the way he needs to?
More than you may think, the outlook is good — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has long been a fan of the player, and seems to enjoy Ochocinco's unique personality. And there's more to Belichick than the supposed automaton portrayed by some — he knows how to pick out risky prospects and make them work in his schemes.
"Look, there's no formula," he said on Saturday. "All the trades we've been involved in through the years — the Ted Washingtons and the Corey Dillons and the Randy Mosses and all — each one is different. There're always different dynamics that go into it. In the end, you just try to do what's best for your football team."
As for Ochocinco, he's been very happy on the field with his new team (makes sense — if your starting quarterback switched from Andy Dalton to Tom Brady, you'd be happy, too), and he's said that he's ready to do things the Patriot Way — less talk, more action.
"It is going to be a little quiet. You won't get the same Chad you are used to, and I probably won't be talking to the media much, probably not at all, really. I just want to play ball and ride the wave."
That was after New England's practice on Saturday, and we hope Chad will still find ways to be interesting. Some may find his shtick annoying, but like Charles Barkley, he seems to understand that as long as you produce when it's expected of you, and the joke's on you as much as anyone else, people don't seem to get rubbed the wrong way.
"I will always be me. It has been a part of my game to always be me, but there is a certain way the Patriots do it. It's easy for me. I've always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win. We had our talk, and without him [Belichick] even having to saying anything — there is no need for some of the stuff I did before. There's no need for it."
So … no bull riding? No proposing to cheerleaders or wearing Hall of Fame jackets on the sidelines? No sending Pepto-Bismol to the defensive backs who will be facing him that week? No awesome tweets? Frankly, we find this hard to believe. Chad's a prankster and a Twitter junkie, he's one of the best and most captivating tweeters around, and he doesn't have to worry about his new coach monitoring his online activities.
"That's not something I follow, as you know," Belichick said Saturday. "I don't Twitter, I don't MyFace, I don't do any of those things, so I'd probably be the last to know."