|Ochocinco on the 2011 season: 'I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off.' (AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
Chad Ochocinco is the forgotten man in New England's offense. Acquired just before training camp, the former Bengals Pro Bowler was supposed to provide Tom Brady something he lacked since Randy Moss was shipped out of town a month into the 2010 season: a deep threat.
Ochocinco, in theory, would've been the final piece to a multi-dimensional passing offense that included two of the league's best tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and the precision route-running of Wes Welker. Instead, Ochocinco, who finished the regular season with 15 receptions and one touchdown, played just one snap in the Patriots' Divisional playoff win over the Broncos and was inactive last week against the Ravens.
On Friday, Ochocinco spoke with the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian. Despite the lack of production this season, he said that he'd love to return to New England in 2012. But first things first: how has he coped with one of the toughest years of his NFL life? Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
“For me, those guys were my outlets. Not Twitter,” he said. “To have those two guys in my corner, I talk to them all the time. (Moss) keeps me sane for 16 weeks, every week. Every week we talked. T.O., too. We’re close-knit, us so-called diva receivers. Who is going to understand what I’m talking about, or going through, from my standpoint? Not Bill (Belichick), not Tom (Brady). It’s like having my own personal support group. I love those two, man. I didn’t want to burden anyone else in here with that bull. They don’t want to hear that.”
There are countless theories for why Ochocinco's productivity tok a nosedive this season. One is that he's struggled to learn the Patriots' offense after spending 10 years in Cincinnati.
“Anything is different, when you’ve come from something you’re used to for so long. It’s like being married,” he said. “If I’m married to Halle Berry for 10 years, and her and I break up, and I marry Scarlett Johansson, there are going to be some things I have to adjust to based off what I’m used to. That’s just the way life is in general. What I was able to do was come in here and keep on working.”
So is Carson Palmer Halle Berry in this analogy? (Personally, we had him pegged for someone like Jennifer Garner: relevant seven or eight years ago before disappearing to have kids only to resurface in a promising situation. And, yes, the movie title is intentional.) And while Johannson's no slouch, Ochocinco has to go with Gisele Bündchen as his new wife, as a metaphor for his relationship with Tom Brady, right?
Either way, he says there's nothing bittersweet about finally making it to the Super Bowl despite having little to do with helping the Patriots get there.
“There’s a competitive side to me that is angry, the competitive nature in me that it didn’t go the way it normally has," Ochocinco said. "I routinely produce a certain way every year. So when that routine goes astray like it did this year, it feels funny. It’s something I had to get used to. But I took it in stride. I did everything I was asked on and off the field. I didn’t become disgruntled, as I’ve done in the past. When I want the ball, I’ve let it be known I want the ball. I didn’t do any of those things (this season). I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off. Maybe not the way everybody thought it would. I don’t know.
“Sometimes you work at something, and you don’t always get the results," he added. "Some people quit, some people keep grinding. I’m one of those who keeps grinding. And that’s it.”
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