The short stay of Chad Ochocinco in New England ended on Thursday with the Patriots releasing the receiver. Bill Belichick reportedly tried to trade No. 85, but then cut the underperforming wideout in a move that was not surprising. Over the past few years, Ochocinco seemed much more interested in being a celebrity than a top NFL player. From name changes to television appearances to dating reality stars, the once-great baller faded on the field as he made more news in the entertainment industry. In the six seasons from 2002-07, No. 85 averaged 88 catches for 1,339 yards and eight touchdowns per year. But over the last four seasons Ochocinco only had 207 receptions in 58 games, including a career-low 15 catches in 15 games for the Patriots in 2011.
The celebrity receiver, who has almost 3.5 million followers on twitter, sent out the following message on his release: “Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the "Patriot" organization... fans were (expletive) wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best...”
Who knows what’s next for Ochocinco? His commitment to football will obviously be in question after his struggle with the Patriots. He never seemed to buy into the New England system on offense and did not receive many opportunities because of that. Some NFL will probably take a chance on the flawed but likeable receiver, who turned 34 earlier this season. Another franchise may believe that they can find one more productive season in Ochocinco, or he may just concentrate on reality TV.
For now, No. 85 has been 86ed.