Chad Ochocinco: Why Over-The-Hill Patriots WR Is Just a Sad Circus Act

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:   Chad Ochocinco #85 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Sadly, I still remember when Chad Ochocinco was one of the best wide receivers in all of football. When I see what he has become, I try to think of the six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro he was, not the circus act he has become. Now, after a lackluster season with the New England Patriots, Mr. Ochocinco is reduced to changing his name again to get himself attention.

Yesterday on Twitter, the 34-year-old receiver announced that he would be changing his last name back to Johnson on July 4. At this point, does anyone really care?

This season, Ochocinco played in 15 games with the Patriots and caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown. Nine of those catches came in the team's first five games, so that should give you an idea of just how unimportant he was to New England's run to Super Bowl XLVI. 

In fact, he is likely to be released soon, because there is almost no way the Patriots will be willing to pay him the $3.1 million he is due for 2012. At this point, it would be shocking if anyone offered him anything more than a league-minimum, incentive-laden contract for next year. 

It's easy to forget that Ochocinco ranks 26th on the all-time receptions list (766) and is also 26th on the career receiving yardage list (11,059). With another solid season, he could move into the top 20 in both categories. 

Sadly, at this point, I'm not sure he has another solid season in him, and he is reduced to name changes and his antics on Twitter to get attention from people.

I like Ochocinco. I've always thought he was a fun personality for the NFL to have. Someone who connects with fans and wants to entertain as well as play football. And, by most accounts, he was a good citizen in New England this season and worked hard.

But, at this point, it's sad seeing someone who was so great reduced to the place he is now in.