Chad Johnson has had plenty of opportunities to show he wouldn't be a distraction throughout his career, and he's failed to ultimately prove that.
That's why his display of regret on the latest episode of HBO's Hard Knocks on Tuesday shouldn't prompt NFL teams to come calling.
The six-time Pro-Bowler is not a completely selfish player. He does know when he does wrong and he tried to make it work with the Miami Dolphins before getting cut this offseason. But his football career, and his life outside it, has always resembled an up-and-down roller coaster.
Johnson has been in free fall ever since the 2009 season. After making the 2010 Pro Bowl with the Cincinnati Bengals, his production dropped in 2010-2011 and he was eventually traded to the New England Patriots last July. What was thought to be a steal for the Patriots at the time turned out to be a wasted couple of draft picks. Johnson went on to post just 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown last season.
Johnson's terms with the Dolphins when he signed with them in June were clear: Make your imprint on the football field, not off it. But Johnson has never been able to stay out of the spotlight away from the field, nor has he ever wanted the cameras to stop rolling on him. In just a few snippets shown of him on Hard Knocks this year, the 34-year-old went on an expletive-ridden tirade at a press conference (WARNING: LANGUAGE), struggled learning the playbook, had trouble catching passes and, ultimately, was arrested for alleged domestic abuse.
Should Chad Johnson be given another chance in the NFL?
Head coach Joe Philbin said it as gently as possible, via DeadSpin.com: "It's where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed. I just don't see the mesh right now."
When the Dolphins have no need for Johnson, who does? There may not be a more inept group of receivers in the entire league.
Struggling teams and contending teams have given Johnson plenty of opportunities to right the ship late in his career, but he hasn't learned from his mistakes, and no amount of regret can replace that.
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