Chad Ochocinco and 5 NFL Veterans Who Could Still Be Cut This Season
The moment the New England Patriots released Albert Haynesworth, people immediately began to speculate that fellow veteran flop Chad Ochocinco would be the next man shown the door.
It hasn't happened yet, but Ochocinco has largely failed to deliver for the Patriots offense, and his future is far from assured.
Ochocinco isn't the only veteran struggling to provide a spark for his team. Several other experienced pros could still find themselves on the street in the coming weeks.
Here is a list of six vets, including Ochocinco, who may yet still be cut this season.
6. Tommie Harris, DT, San Diego Chargers
Tommie Harris has already experienced being released this season. It doesn't say much for the veteran interior rusher that the lowly Indianapolis Colts felt like Harris couldn't help them.
The ex-Chicago Bear was quickly picked up by the San Diego Chargers. But Harris has been largely anonymous for the AFC West underachievers.
It has been a tough challenge for the career-long 4-3 practitioner to slot into the Chargers hybrid 3-4 scheme. The 6'3" 295-pounder has registered a solitary sack in six appearances.
Harris needs to begin proving quickly that injuries have not robbed him of the attributes that made him such a disruptive force early in his career.
5. Derrick Mason, WR, Houston Texans
Another player who has already been released once this campaign, evergreen pass catcher Derrick Mason could still experience the feeling again before this season is finished.
But the 37-year-old flanker has just six receptions in five games. Even though Mason hasn't provided any real impact for the Texans' passing game, another release would be a sad end to a fine career.
4. Shaun Ellis, DL, New England Patriots
The Patriots loaded up on veteran defensive linemen once Bill Belichick chose to switch to a 4-3 front. But Albert Haynesworth isn't the only experiment that struggled to yield results.
Former division nemesis Shaun Ellis has not been the disruptive force the Patriots were hoping they had acquired.
The ex-New York Jet is credited with just five solo stops and has failed to register a sack after eight starts. After spending most of his career in versions of the 3-4, Ellis has found it difficult to man the strong-side defensive end position in a 4-3.
The Patriots have had Ellis rushing from a two-point stance. But this does not really suit the skill set of the powerful, 290-pound, 12-year pro.
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Oakland Raiders
T.J. Houshmandzadeh may have only appeared in two games for the Raiders and has a long-standing rapport with quarterback Carson Palmer.
But being released always seems to somehow be just around the corner for the journeyman wideout. A talented but temperamental receiver, Houshmandzadeh has never been able to match his early career production from his days as a Cincinnati Bengal.
After ill-fated short spells with the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL's best-known haven for final chances could be the ideal place for Houshmandzadeh to prove he still has what it takes.
If he can't get things straight in Oakland, then expect the 11-year-veteran to be shown the door quickly by Hue Jackson.
2. Tashard Choice, RB, Washington Redskins
Former Dallas Cowboy Tashard Choice was quickly picked up by NFC East nemesis the Washington Redskins after his release.
But Mike Shanahan has so far resisted the urge to include Choice in the offense. Despite a ground game which has struggled to provide support to dubious quarterbacks all season, Choice has yet to see action.
The Redskins have opted to let incumbent Ryan Torain and rookie Roy Helu battle it out for the starting spot and seem content to treat Choice with emergency-only status.
If Torain or Helu quickly emerge, there could be no place left for Choice on the Redskins roster.
1. Chad Ochocinco, WR, New England Patriots
Loquacious veteran wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has not delivered the kind of big-play potential the Patriots were expecting.
Ochocinco has not managed to acclimate himself fully to the nuances of the Patriots' fast-paced offensive scheme.
As effective as the Patriots passing game is, many would still argue that the team needs a player who is a legitimate threat to stretch the field vertically. Ochocinco has not proven he can be that man.
He showed some signs of recovery against the New York Jets last Sunday, but Ochocinco simply has to do more if he is still going to be in New England come the end of the season.