Over the weekend, rumors began to circulate about wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who found himself a free agent after being cut by the New England Patriots following an unsuccessful season, ending up on yet another AFC East team, the Miami Dolphins.
The same Dolphins who conveniently just agreed to be featured on this season’s edition of “Hard Knocks.”
And late Monday night, both parties agreed on a one-year deal.
Even though his outrageous and unpredictable personality was bottled up for the most part in New England, and even though, production-wise, Ochocinco has yet to outperform the previous incarnation of himself – when he was playing under his given name, Chad Johnson – Ochocinco’s presence should add some much-needed sizzle to a “Hard Knocks” steak coming off of a very juicy Jets entree. (At least they decided not to settle on Jaguars steak tartar.)
And as a player, Ochocinco’s veteran presence should also make the team relevant. Just how irrelevant is the current Dolphins wide receiving corps? Monday night on “NFL Total Access,” Heath Evans referred to one of the team’s wideouts, Davone Bess, as “Devon Boss.” Ouch.
For Ochocinco, it means he will be making his second appearance on “Hard Knocks,” a production of HBO Sports and NFL Films. In 2009, the program featured the Cincinnati Bengals in what would be Ochocinco’s penultimate year with the team – he played for ten seasons with Cincinnati before signing with New England last year. The 2009 season was also the last of six seasons that he made the Pro Bowl. (To date, of course.)
While it may appear to be destiny (“It’s not destiny. It’s HBO.”) that brought Ochocinco and the Dolphins together, it does mean that the athlete, who grew up in the Miami neighborhood of Liberty City, will get an opportunity to play for the team he grew up rooting for. There’s also the possibility of Ochocinco “finishing his career in his home state,” as ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested.
Wouldn’t that be a great ending to a colorful career? But it’s not an ending meant for HBO – more like NBC, ESPN, NFL Network, or any broadcasting entity that would benefit from his one-of-a-kind spunk. And they will line up in droves once Ochocinco calls it a career.
And so, a mere three weeks after Chad Ochocinco ties the knot with his fiance (the invite says “Chad Johnson,” but, you know), he will begin training camp with his third NFL team, the Miami Dolphins.
And with HBO’s cameras rolling film, that deal might be a match made in premium channel universe ratings heaven.