And so it begins. You don’t need a football expert to tell you things went terribly, terribly wrong for the Cincinnati Bengals this year. They went from winning the AFC North last season to a 4-12 record this season — worse than only the Panthers. Carson Palmer has looked lost and Marvin Lewis continues to prove he’s incapable of winning a playoff game, but the Bengals have decided to stick with both.
One change Cincinnati could decide to make is ridding itself of the circus that is Chad Ochocinco. Reports have indicated that the Bengals have a $3.5 million buyout for the 2011 season of his contract (which is for $6 million), and while Lewis insists there is no option many believe Ocho’s days with the cats are numbered. So where will Chad end up?
We know he and Bill Belichick get along tremendously, and Ochocinco sent a tweet to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald on Monday that simply read, “PePe and Bill #EPIC.” Belichick and Ochocinco hit it off at the Pro Bowl a couple years back, but I can’t envision Chad in a Patriots uniform next season for several reasons.
For starters, football isn’t the only game Ochocinco loves to play. He’s a comedian. Belichick may have a sense of humor that would surprise any casual sports fan, but he just spent an entire year-plus cleansing his locker room of players like Adalius Thomas, Laurence Maroney, and Randy Moss — guys he thought had become a distraction to the team. Ochocinco isn’t a distraction, he’s the distraction. That’s the way he likes it and I doubt it will ever change.
If you think the Patriots might entertain the idea of bringing Ocho on board, think back about 24 hours. Remember how Wes Welker was benched for the first series of the AFC Championship because he took extremely subtle jabs at Rex Ryan for his foot fetish? If Wes was disciplined for that, Chad would have to be benched pretty much every time he sent a tweet, opened his mouth, or broke into an end zone celebration.
Finally, forget about New England’s loss yesterday. I realize it was the most important game of the season and the Patriots offense went stale, but the previous 12 games were no fluke. After trading Moss, New England went 11-1 and scored more than 32 points per game. Deion Branch rejoined the team and Brady recaptured control of the offense. The days of entertaining skill players who pout when they don’t get the ball are over for Bill Belichick. Ochocinco would not be able to operate in an offense where the ball goes to the open receiver without exception. The party would end faster than it did with Moss, and I’m 100 percent confident Belichick understands that.
There will be plenty of people who have fun talking about it, but Chad Ochocinco is not going to be a New England Patriot in 2011.Google+