Former NFL and CFL wide receiver, Chad Johnson, who spent a decade plying his trade for the Cincinnati Bengals is a genuine athlete who had a ton of talent on the football field and an odd charisma away from it. During his NFL career, if there was a TV camera in the area, Chad Johnson would find it, and somehow, he never seemed to run out of things to say.
One thing that everyone who watched him play said about him was that the man was a great wide receiver. He went to six pro bowls, and was first team All-Pro in back-to-back seasons (2005-06). He had seven 1,000-yard seasons, and led the league in receiving yards in 2006. He holds at least ten Bengals franchise records, including career receptions, yards and touchdowns.
In short, Chad Johnson knows a lot about being a top NFL wide receiver.
Of late, Chad Johnson has been all over social media talking up one guy that he loves: Washington's top receiver, Terry McLaurin.
There are very good reasons why Johnson is a fan of the young 3rd-year pass catcher. McLaurin has established himself as one of the premier young talents in the NFL at the wideout position despite catching passes from seven QBs in his first two professional seasons, and he's coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which he produced 1,118 receiving yards on 87 catches, with four touchdowns.
Chad Johnson also seems to have plenty of love to spread around to McLaurin's cohorts. In March, when it was announced that the Football Team had signed the notorious gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick to play quarterback in 2021, "Ochocinco" was quick to predict big things for No.17:
Chad Johnson has never been shy about self-promotion. There are entire websites devoted to Johnson's memorable quotes, many about himself:
Last night, I felt like I wished I wasn't Chad Johnson. Last night, I felt like I wished I wasn't good. I had to keep from crying on the sideline because I wished I wasn't that good because I wouldn't be getting the attention I'm getting. I just want to catch the ball; that's it.
I am the best receiver in the NFL.
There's three things in life that's certain: death, taxes, and 85 will always be open.
One of the most memorable things Chad Johnson ever did to promote himself was to announced that he would prefer to be called "Ocho Cinco," which he said is "eight five" in Spanish ("Eighty-five" would, of course, be "ochenta y cinco" in Spanish). Eighty-five was, of course, his jersey number. He legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ochocinco in August 2008, and played with "OCHOCINCO" on the back of his jersey from the 2009 season to the 2011 season. In 2012, after Ochocinco's move to the Miami Dolphins, he legally changed his name back to Chad Johnson at a Broward County courthouse because he "wanted to reconnect with his former self".
When a guy who is this much into his sport and his position, he rarely ever concedes that anyone else can match his prowess, so it was pretty amazing to see Johnson tweet out in November last year, "Terry McLaurin is a more polished version of me..."
Johnson seems perfectly willing to credit other Washington receivers in addition to Terry McLaurin. Just this week, he included Curtis Samuel in his predictions of Washington's impending offensive explosion:
Johnson is an entertainer. It took me five minutes just to scroll through the past two weeks on his Twitter timeline. While he was still an active player, he appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. He has appeared frequently as a guest on sports programs and had his own reality dating show on VH1 (Ochocinco: the ultimate catch). He has played competitive soccer, participated in professional bull riding, and has tried his hand at acting, appeared in professional music videos and just weeks ago went into the boxing ring for an exhibition match as part of the undercard for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Logan Paul fight. He even once participated in a footrace against a thoroughbred racehorse.
Comparing the P.T. Barnum-like Chad 'Ochocinco' Johnson to the quiet demeanored Terry McLaurin, who spends his free time bass fishing, seems an unlikely pairing.
Of course, Johnson's career came to a very public and ignominious end in Miami in 2012 when the Dolphins franchise was featured on Hard Knocks. Johnson was arrested on a charge of domestic battery, and the entire world watched his meeting with then-Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, who cut the wide receiver from the NFL for the last time.
By contrast, Terry McLaurin has the reputation of a quiet, polite and serious young man who is respected for his maturity and leadership.
When it comes to leaving it all on the field, however, Washington fans would probably be pretty thrilled if McLaurin turns out to be as successful as Johnson was in his NFL career. In 11 seasons, Johnson put up over 11,000 yards and scored 67 touchdowns. He was one of the most productive receivers of his generation.
Terry McLaurin is already well ahead of the stats that Johnson put up in his first two seasons, and seems headed for a long and successful NFL career. If you doubt whether that's true, just ask Chad Johnson; he'll tell you.
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