The sight of Chad Johnson (stats) illicits many responses among football fans. You might think of his over-the-top endzone celebrations and other displays of arrogant showmanship, or you might conjure up images of the angry wide receiver openly demanding a trade this past summer.
One thing you probably won't think of is a player willing to sacrifice for the good of his team.
Another concept that probably won't come into your mind is one of toughness.
This could all be about to change.
Ever since Johnson unhappily reported to training camp, he has labored to keep a low profile. All questions about his trade demands have gone unanswered, and while he's battled minor injuries that have kept him off the practice field at times, he has been there and performed when he has been on the field.
Then the second preseason game happens. We've all seen the highlight, and most of us who saw it thought that if he was seriously hurt, that'd be the last we'd see of him this season.
Well one of those things was true, Chad Johnson tore the labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that requires surgery. Getting the surgery would keep Chad off the field this whole season, and it is a painful injury to play through.
Even still, that is exactly what Chad plans to do. He has acknowledged that his shoulder requires surgery...he is just refusing to get it. By saying "we have a season to play," he is showing us a Chad Johnson than we are used to seeing.
This new and improved Chad Johnson is willing to sacrifice for the good of his team. He is showing he is someone who is willing to play through injury, knowing that the Bengals need him to have any shot in the very tough AFC north.
If Chad has a successful season, he will have drastically altered the perceptions of him around the league. In truth, Chad could not have hoped for a better set of circumstances to give him a chance to make over his image.