CINCINNATI - FILE: Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals watches the final minute of the Bengals 49-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to reports on July 28, 2011 the New England Patriots have acquired Chad Ochocinco from the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
+ The New England Patriots reportedly released Chad Ochocinco on Thursday, after only one season where the former Bengals wide receiver generated career-low numbers across the board. He did post a reception in a losing effort against the New York Giants during last year's Super Bowl. Following the breaking news, Ochocinco tweeted that he "thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to player for the 'Patriot' organization" (there was some spell check on our part). Not that we expected anything different.
Now it's time for the topics to become more conjectured in nature. Which teams are the favorites to acquire Ochocinco? The New York Jets, who already have a Santonio Holmes problems (more below) have already declined, according to Rich Cimini with ESPN. Mike Florio with Pro Football Talk suggests the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and a host of other teams. Florio even brought up the Bengals, but that tends to be the more natural response due to his 10-year career in the Queen City.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer can't project a Cincinnati reunion, citing parting barbs between the receiver and head coach Marvin Lewis. ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley spelled the same conclusion.
In truth we didn't exactly feel it necessary to explore the possibility. Why? For all of the reasons explained, including the fact that this offense is far more organized and dependant on players doing their job, rather than the free-lance routes that Chad Ochocinco was accustomed to during Bob Bratkowski's offense.
All of that aside, lost among the "hah", "careful what you wish for" responses is the absence of remembrance for what Ochocinco meant to the Bengals. He's the franchise's all-time leader in receptions (751), yards receiving (10,783), receiving touchdowns (66), generating the most games with 100 yards receiving (31). He holds the top-five best receiving seasons, second all-time in total touchdowns with the best single-game receiving performance in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals. And don't argue that he's not that great because the team didn't win the Super Bowl. No Cincinnati Bengals player has. Therefore no Bengals player is that great. Right? Ridiculous.
Most importantly is Ochocinco was one of the front-runners on a team that demanded a change in culture. It was Ochocinco that became the face of the team, not Carson Palmer, not Marvin Lewis. And before the pouty explosions, trade demands, it was young laughable Chad on SportsCenter and not the ravenous NFL analysts cracking jokes about the Cincinnati Bengals. As most long relationships, Chad's time in Cincinnati was about three years too long and his act tired, which is sad because that's what people are remembering the most.
Sometimes we get so caught up about today that we tend to disregard this team's legends. Perhaps that's a byproduct of the Mike Brown era splitting the gap from today to when the legends played. Boomer Esiason and Kenny Anderson you'll remember; they were favorites as were a handful of others. However while most remember Anthony Munoz, fewer know of Tommy Casanova. During his time here Lemar Parrish may have been the best defensive back in franchise history, but it's Ken Riley and his 65 interceptions that people remember.
If there were a Ring of Honor, Ochocinco's spot would already be reserved. He will go down as one of, if not the best, wide receivers in team history. Even though he rubbed people the wrong way, you can't dispute what he meant to this franchise before his character suicide campaign in 2008. It went downhill after that. But before that... damn.
+ As collective Bengals fans, we went into mini-defense mode when former NFL linebacker Nate Webster was identified first as a former Cincinnati Bengals player. Of course we didn't dispute the fact he played for the Bengals; only pointed out that of all the teams he could be identified with, they picked the team he played the least amount for and contributed even less. We're not stupid. We know why the media does it. We just enjoy pointing it out while atop of our high horse. Giddyup.
+ Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict went from a long-shot to "no longer a long shot" in the span of one rookie minicamp and ten OTA sessions. Not bad kid. Currently he's absorbing everything there is to absorb from Rey Maualuga, much like an apprentice.
+ You know it's early June when ESPN is grading and ranking each team's backup quarterback situation.
+ Running backs Bernard Scott likes the direction of this team's rushing philosophy.
+ Former Green Bay Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman signed a four-year deal worth $24 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. He lasted two seasons, played 11 games (didn't record a single statistic in 2011) and now he's unemployed. This is another reminder to those that freak out during the first days of free agency when the Bengals sit on their hands.
+ Interestingly enough Vice President of Media Relations, Neal Gulkis, was forced to comment that the Cleveland Browns are not for sale. Which probably means that they really are. From The Republic.
Gulkis was responding to a report by Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin, who posted on his Twitter page that former Eagles president Joe Banner is putting together a group to buy the Buffalo Bills, and that the Browns and St. Louis Rams may also be for sale.
+ Santonio Holmes was a talent with the Ohio State Buckeyes, but that's where my fandom of him dissolved, first with the Steelers and later with the New York Jets. Now Holmes is complaining that he's being worked too hard during New York's OTA sessions:
"I was talking to the coach, letting him understand it was too many reps today," Holmes said. "I’ve been gone for a while, so I can’t be at full tempo like the rest of the guys and where they want us to be at."
According to Rich Cimini with ESPN New York, Holmes "staged a mini-meltdown near the end of the two-our workout, limping off the field and tossing his helmet." Classy.