With Terrell Owens celebrating his latest contract signing with a huge bowl of popcorn and Chad Johnson legally changing his last name to Ocho Cinco, many fans in the NFL have scowled over the actions and antics of some of football’s most talented. Here is the all-exclusive list of the greatest egos of elite wide receivers.
With “Just Give Me the Damn Ball!” released right after his rookie season, the author did not shy away from the spotlight once he was drafted first overall in 1996. Signing with Adidas and a $15 million deal with the New York Jets, Johnson campaigned to coach Rich Kotite for a starting job, especially after the 31-6 loss to Denver, stating “I need to play…period!”
With Bill Parcells as his head coach in is second season, Johnson was the media darling of New York City. He had called Wayne Chrebet a “mascot” and blasted quarterback Neil O’Donnell in his book, and boasted about himself, as well, as he played on the field.
Johnson was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000, signing an eight-year, $56 million contract, the second time he had received the biggest deal for a wide receiver. The trade left him bitter, ready to prove the Jets wrong with both his play and his mouth.
As Tampa transitioned from Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden, tension became apparent between Johnson and his new head coach. On Sept. 17, 2002, Johnson and Gruden clashed during a game against the Baltimore Ravens, when the receiver was upset about being held. By Week 15 of the Super Bowl season, rumors speculated over the separation of the two after Gruden had given Johnson fewer targets as the year progressed.
The next year, Johnson, feeling disrespected by Gruden, was suspended by the Bucs until after the 10th game for leaving the team after its Week 7 lost to the 49ers. He was later traded to the Dallas Cowboys for Joey Galloway in 2004.
Keyshawn finished his career with 814 receptions for 10,571 yards 64 touchdowns.
Chad Johnson/Chad Ocho Cinco
The newly legal “Ocho Cinco” always had the mouth of his cousin Keyshawn. As his career progressed, Ocho Cinco advanced into unique touchdown celebrations and off-field antics.
In 2005, Ocho Cinco created “The List” to see which starting corner could effectively cover him. He also began his many infamous touchdown celebrations, including “The Riverdance,” “CPR,” and “The Proposal.”
In 2006, the name Ocho Cinco was first adopted on Oct. 25 for Hispanic Heritage Month, in which a tearoff was put on the back of his jersey four days later. Johnson also added a grill, earrings, and a blond mohawk to his image, along with more of his original end zone celebrations.
Ocho Cinco decided to race a racehorse a distance of a furlong in 2007, winning after a half-furlong head start. To begin the season Ocho Cinco celebrated his first touchdown by wearing an oversized mock Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket with “Future H.o.F. 20??” on the back. Later in the year, he also performed the “Dawg Pound Leap” and taped on a live TV camera.
In the offseason, Ocho Cinco had to address rumors of him being a cancer in the locker room. The drama caused him to vehemently demand a trade from Cincinnati up until the Bengals minicamp.
Currently, hw has 559 career receptions with 8,365 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Moss began with a slide down the first round in 1998 due to his off-field problems in the past. His antics only intensified once he became a Viking, appearing bored for most of the tenure.
Two of his highest fines came in the 1999 season. Beginning in November of that year, Moss was fined $10,000 for verbally abusing a referee. In the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, Moss was originally fined $40,000, later reduced to $25,000 for squirting an official with a water bottle.
In 2002, Moss bumped a traffic control officer after preparing to make an illegal turn. He was arrested for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and marijuana possession. Moss pleaded guilty to misdemeanor traffic violation, and was fined $1,200 and ordered 40 hours community service.
At the end of the 2004 season, Moss walked out on his team with 0:02 left on the clock versus Washington, stating that Minnesota was not going to recover the onside kick. Later in the postseason, he did the Lambeau moon, pretending to pull his pants down to moon the Packer fans. The NFL fined Moss $10,000, to which he responded “Straight Cash, Homie” when asked how he was to pay for it.
When Moss was traded to the Raiders, the only thing memorable was his lack of effort “playing for a loser.” Two years later, Moss was traded to the Patriots for a fourth-round pick.
Currently Moss has 774 career receptions with 12,193 yards and 124 touchdowns.
Simply “TO,” Owens has had a love/hate relationship with NFL fans throughout his career, from his touchdown celebrations to throwing teammates and coaches under the bus.
In 1999, Owens did the dirty bird and a throat slash after scoring a touchdown against Atlanta. The next year, he stood in the midfield star at Dallas after each one of his touchdowns, resulting in Cowboys safety George Teague to hit him during the second one. Owens had two of his most memorable end zone celebrations in 2002, “The Sharpie” on Oct. 14 and “The Pom-Pom” on Dec. 15.
TO proceeded to feud with then-quarterback Jeff Garcia and head coach Steve Mariucci of the 49ers in 2001.
Owens was traded to the Eagles prior to the 2004 season along with his circus. End zone dances included “The Bird,” “The Ray Lewis,” and “The Waiter.” He was also involved in the Desperate Housewives skit for the opening of Monday Night Football with Nicollette Sheridan taking her towel down.
After the Super Bowl, Owens joined Freddie Mitchell in throwing Donovan McNabb under the bus, and fought with Hugh Douglas when his renegotiation of his contract failed. The Eagles sent him home from training camp and later suspended him four games during the game for conduct detrimental to the team.
When sent home from training camp, Owens performed sit-ups in front of the media outside his home. During his press conference for his apology, his agent Drew Rosenhaus responded with “next question” for most of the reporters’ queries.
TO later signed with Dallas in 2006, providing such celebrations as “The Nap,” “The Donation,” and “The Camera,” spitting in the face of DeAngelo Hall along the way.
Currently, Owens has 882 career receptions with 13,070 yards and 129 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Freddie Mitchell
“Fred-Ex,” the quintessential first-round bust, has always hunted for attention from the media. From UCLA seeking exposure, Mitchell played dumb during a Jay Leno street interview saying Ben Franklin was the first president.
Later in Philadelphia, Mitchell’s main specialty on the team was the creation of nicknames ("First Down Freddie," "Fourth Down Freddie," "4th and 26 Freddie," "The Sultan of Slot," etc.) and infamous quotes of “I'd like to thank my hands” and “I'd like to thank God for giving me these hands.”
During the Super Bowl, press event Mitchell insulted the Patriots secondary by claiming he didn’t know them by name, and called out Rodney Harrison, saying he had “something for him.” The Patriots targeted him during the game when he was in, to which he criticized them, Bill Belichick, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, and the Eagles.
If you have any more tidbits about these receivers, or you legitimately think another wideout should join this list, then add a comment with a short explanation of why.
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