Fate of Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson in NFL: Is His Career Over?
After his arrest for domestic violence against Evelyn Lozada, his wife of 35 days, Chad Johnson’s NFL future is also in question. After his lackluster season with the Patriots, with declining numbers the last three seasons, his numerous on-field antics, and his age, Johnson may find it difficult to latch on to another franchise.
“When you sign a guy like Chad Johnson, you have to understand that players have luggage,” Herman Edwards, a former NFL player and head coach and current ESPN analyst, said on Mike & Mike in the Morning on Monday. “How much luggage is this guy bringing into our locker room? When he’s a veteran guy, you expect certain things out of him. He’s been in the National Football League and he has been pretty productive.
“It was a tryout basis for the most part, and [the Dolphins] felt that they needed some more talent at receiver. But with the incident off the field and the Hard Knocks situation, I think the coach looked at it and said that the production doesn’t match the drama.”
Edwards, who previously coached the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, was asked whether he would’ve cut Johnson. He admitted that if he were in Philbin’s position as a rookie head coach that he never would’ve signed him in the first place.
“If I were a rookie coach, I wouldn’t have signed Chad,” Edwards said. “I was in a similar situation in Kansas City. You’re trying to build something, so I wouldn’t have signed Chad.
“Plus, Chad is a little bit of a celebrity,” he added. “I think that comes with the luggage that he’s bringing. He has a lot of things going off the field and I think that hurt Chad. There’s a part of Chad where he’s trying to get into his life after football and that’s not good. A lot of young players see that and you want him to be focused on one thing: football.”
Johnson goes back into free agency, where he was not highly sought after by other teams before signing in Miami. Edwards said that other teams could possibly give Johnson a look, but not any time soon.
“What you do is you let the preseason play out for most teams,” Edwards said. “He’s probably going to be on a ‘disaster list’ of some teams. A ‘disaster list’ is that you get some guys hurt during the course of a season and a veteran guy steps in and plays.
“Here’s the problem with Chad. He comes out of the Cincinnati system and goes to New England and looks like he’s lost,” he added. “Can he learn your system quick enough to help you?”
Joe Philbin and the Dolphins made it very clear that they felt Johnson was not worth the trouble. He insists that his team will recover and move into the 2012 season ready to play.
“I think we have a strong locker room,” Philbin said. “I believe in the character of these individuals, and the men we have on this football team. We’re going to move forward.”