Normally, we here at Cincy Jungle don't like to go overboard on covering former Bengals players who have since left Cincinnati for another team and/or career endeavor. But, Chad Ochocinco isn't your everyday former Bengal, is he? Chad has had many interesting offseasons in his twelve-year career, but none have been as tumultuous or humbling as 2012. After getting released by the New England Patriots, Ochocinco landed in his hometown of Miami to play for the Dolphins.
Ochocinco made his first appearance at Dolphins minicamp recently and is already creating a bit of a buzz. Though the sideshow that comes with the receiver is currently taking a backseat to the team's quarterback competition, he's still turning heads and raising eyebrows.
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Speaking with Jeff Darlington of NFL.com, as well as other Miami media members, a humbled Ochocinco talked about his most recent career change:
"For me, it's about getting back to the basics, back to the roots, how it all started," he said. "Not as far as coming back to Miami -- but as far as getting my game going, getting back to what we're all used to seeing."It's about the basic fundamentals of how I became what I am. I feel like I lost that -- and I'm looking to go back to Chad Johnson. Making it live again.
Ochocinco has maintained this team-first, hard working attitude since arriving in New England last year. That's not to say that he wasn't a hard worker while in Cincinnati, but his sideshow antics usually overshadowed the work that he put in. As for the name change, we don't know if Ochocinco is being literal about changing his name back to Johnson or not, but we all know that nothing should surprise us with this cat.
He is in a bit of unfamiliar territory, as he has been seen working with the third-team at wide receiver for the Dolphins in the early portion of minicamp. Though he didn't see the field much throughout 2011, Ochocinco was deemed as someone who could step in and start for the Patriots upon his arrival. He's not getting that same treatment so far and will have to work to earn his spot.
However, according to Darlington, Ochocinco has looked pretty solid in the early portion of minicamp.
Let's not read too much into one practice on Tuesday, but a few diving catches, including one leaping grab over a defensive back on a pass from David Garrard, certainly didn't indicate a man ready for retirement.
"The way he's moving, running his routes, he's still very quick with his breaks," Garrard said. "That's usually the No. 1 thing that declines with older receivers, and I don't see that. And I definitely don't see (any decline) with the hands."
There's no doubt that the Dolphins will keep Ochocinco around for a while, even if it's only to drum up ratings for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series. Either way, he'll likely end up on the team's final, receiver-hungry roster, and will be counted on to contribute in 2012.