Chad Ochocinco: Why Return to Johnson Will Rejuvenate Loudmouth's Career

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 9, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the New England Patriots waits on the field during warmups before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Chad Ochocinco's return to the name Johnson is a sign that he has matured and realizes his time in the NFL is precious and short.

In a series of tweets, Chad revealed his plans to return to the last name he carried for the first 30 years of his life.

There are a few fans who will have this dilemma (mostly Cincinnati Bengals fans, no doubt). However, I can't help but wonder if Nike is going to hit Johnson with the same fee that they would have handed Adrian Peterson had he changed his number.

It seems to make sense that they would, since it still requires a reprint of jerseys. After all, Ochocinco jerseys would seem to be just as worthless as No. 28 Adrian Peterson jerseys if he had gone through with his number change.

Johnson's reasons for the change are not known, but I'm going to assume the reasons he gave in other tweets are untrue:

It makes sense that Chad has reached a point in his career where he realizes that gimmicks and self-promotion aren't really helping his production on the field.

In 15 games this season as a Patriot, Ochocinco had by far the worst season of his career. He managed only 15 receptions for 276 yards and one TD, while starting only three games.

This experience had to be humbling and sobering for him. At 33, Ochocinco is certainly still capable of contributing to an NFL team, but he is obviously on the down side of his career. In order for him to get the most out of what NFL time he has left, he must get focused on football.

That re-transformation may very well have to begin with the return to Johnson as his legal name. Ochocinco legally changed his name before the season in 2008, and has since then averaged 673 yards receiving per season. The seven years prior to that, as Johnson, he averaged 1,195 yards per year.

What's in a name? In Chad's case, it may be quite a bit.

From this point on, I predict we will see Chad perform at a level we've come to expect from him. He keeps himself in great physical shape, so he can still compete at a high level. He now just has to get his mind right.

On July 4, when he goes back to Johnson, he will be focused and he'll celebrate his independence from a career in decline.

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