It was July 28th. The Pats traded a fifth and sixth draft pick to Cincinnati and in exchange New England got back Chad Ochocinco. We were elated. Finally they had the #1 receiver that they’d coveted for so long after Randy Moss’s departure.
The pre-season yielded very little production. He had only three catches for 23 yards and one score. That one score came against the Bucs and had everyone excited. But that really was the beginning of the end.
Chad never really clicked in the Patriot’s offensive system. The few times he had open looks, he had drops. He had the worst statistical season of his career ending with 15 receptions for 276 yards and one score. The playoffs didn’t get much better as he didn’t even dress for the AFC Championship game (he’d left the team to attend his father’s funeral in his defense) and had one catch for 21 yards in the Super Bowl.
In Ochocinco’s defense, he did this all without being a distraction. He was upbeat when he was interviewed and when the Pats made it to the Super Bowl, Ochocinco was very humble.
Despite the down season and the invisibility in the playoffs, we (well, at least I) thought that with a full off-season under his belt he’d be a very productive member of the team in the 2012 season. With the lockout there weren’t any OTA’s and minicamps, this year he’d have the full compliment. Even as they were signing Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth back to the team, I still thought somehow Chad would make the roster.
Then came the news on June 7th that the Patriots had cut ties with the wideout. Even when that happened I thought it was one of those situations where the team would release him and then bring him back on a lesser deal.
Since I follow him on Twitter I knew he’d gone home to Miami. I didn’t think to play for the Dolphins, I just figured he’d be home with his kids. Then word came yesterday that he’d signed with the Dolphins. A very smart signing considering that they recently signed the contract for HBO’s Hard Knocks. Chad had already done the show in 2009 when he was with the Bengals.
For all that I rooted for him to succeed while he was here, it just didn’t happen. Whether it was the playbook complexity, the dropped balls, or him losing a step or two, I wanted to see him succeed in New England. Just didn’t happen. I wish him well, with the exception of when he plays the Pats twice a year.