He has 1,861,487 Facebook friends. He has 2,419,971 followers on Twitter. He has his own game, “Mad Chad” available on iTunes. He has invited fans out for dinner. He has ridden a bull, played soccer for Sporting Kansas City, sported a "H.O.F 20??" jacket and co-starred on the T.Ocho show with fellow wideout, Terrell Owens.
Not exactly the “Patriots’ Way” (well, his Twitter avatar and profile now have him as a Patriot).
There is no denying Chad Ochocinco has built an incredible social media persona. He could be considered the NFL version of Shaquille O’Neal (4,114,461 Twitter followers) with regards to the twittersphere and building a personal brand. Perhaps this was Ochocinco’s outlet or escape from the losing environment of Cincinnati. Unlike Shaq’s days in Boston, when he made more news off the court than on, Ochocinco still has fuel in his tank.
In 2010, No. 85 en espanol had 67 catches for 831 yards with four scores. The Patriots' leading receiver last season was Wes Welker who had 86 grabs for 848 yards with seven scores. To say that Chad Ochocinco is on the “back nine” is a little premature. He still has the skills, passion and athleticism to be a dangerous weapon in quarterback Tom Brady’s arsenal.
The question on everyone’s mind is, can Chad Johnson hold the “Ochocinco” persona at bay during the season? It is no secret that Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick is not a fan of disruptions and distractions. He expects his players to have one focus which is on football and for them to “do their job.” He is not in tune with social media as illustrated by this quote, “I don’t Twitter, I don’t MyFace, I don’t YearBook, I don’t do any of those things.”
Chad Ochocinco addressed the media about how he would adapt to and adopt the “Patriots' Way.” He said that he would not be speaking to the media as much as he did while he was a member of the Bengals. He also mentioned that “Ochocinco” is part of his game but he would do it the “Patriots' Way.” Chad showed his signature playfulness during his interview with the Boston media, saying, "Before we go, I don't know you guys, but can I get a group hug?” Not a bad way to break the ice.
Players like Randy Moss and Corey Dillon also adopted the team doctrine, but after some great success they reverted back to their old ways and relentless whining. They ran their course and soon were shipped out of town. Chad Ochocinco is not cut from the same cloth as Dillon and Moss.
He truly is a good soul and has a love for the game like his good old buddy, Bill Belichick. However, he will need to keep his off-field brand in check as he builds his Patriots’ brand in Foxboro—because no player donning the “Flying Elvis” on his helmet is bigger than the team, not even one with two million Twitter followers.