Chad Johnson's Age, Not His Legal Issues, Will Prevent Him from NFL Comeback
Bleacher Report tweeted the latest development in his legal woes:
According to the Sports Network on Fox News, after turning himself in, Johnson served time in Broward County jail and then was released on $1,000 bail.
As the Sports Network notes, Johnson turned himself into authorities after "allegedly violating several terms of his probation." His probation stemmed from a misdemeanor last August after Johnson supposedly head-butted his wife at the time, Evelyn Lozada.
At the time of the incident in question, Johnson was a member of the Miami Dolphins. He was released shortly thereafter and didn't make it to the regular season.
While the release came after Johnson's legal troubles started, the real reason he was let go was because he doesn't have enough to add to a team.
Johnson, 35, did not find another team last season and hasn't appeared in a game since the 2011 season.
He's had a spectacular career. Over 11 NFL seasons, 10 of which came with the Cincinnati Bengals, Johnson has amassed 766 receptions for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns. At his best, he was one of the league's elite receivers. As recently as 2009, Johnson posted a 1,000-yard season.
However, he's been in a sharp decline since.
He put up 831 receiving yards for the Bengals in 2010. That came on 67 receptions, which he needed 125 targets to accumulate.
Then, in 2011, he landed with the New England Patriots. As part of the prolific Patriots passing offense, it was widely assumed Johnson would undergo a burst of production.
Yet he never found his way in the offense. He looked uncomfortable, and even worse, he looked unable to get separation.
He finished the year with just 15 receptions on 32 targets and didn't see the field all that often.
Not only was he struggling to get separation, but he was playing sloppily. Week 3 of that season was a perfect example. The Patriots lost to the Bills, 34-31, and Johnson was a big reason why.
There was this epic drop:
At that point, the hope was that Johnson would still become an effective weapon for the Patriots after he settled into the offense. But it became clear that Johnson was a shell of his former self athletically and that the mental lapses that had always plagued him were still an issue.
This must have become clear to the Dolphins last year, as well.
That was a squad that was starving for help at the wide receiver position. Had Johnson looked like he could have helped alleviate that situation, the team would have kept him around.
Instead, he was cut and didn't find another home. He isn't going to now, either.
Will Johnson ever play in the NFL again?
Father Time has stripped Johnson of his speed, and that was always a key factor to his success on the football field. At 6'1" and 188 pounds, Johnson doesn't have the size that would allow him to extend his career.
He is not big enough to utilize his body to make himself available for key third-down pickups or touchdowns in the red zone. He's always been a big-play receiver, and now he is left without the ability to make big plays.
If Johnson were 28, there isn't a doubt in my mind that he would have no problem finding a team despite his legal issues. However, he is 35 and getting slower. There is not enough of an upside for a team to take a chance on him when it can find a younger player, with potential to get better, instead.
So, it is time to start writing the obituaries on Johnson's career. The league won't be as fun without him.
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