Thursday, June 14, 2012

NFL: Chad Ochocinco's next challenge

Finding a home for Chad was expected to be an off-season long story but, having been out of work and ready to retire, he has found gainful employment back in his home town of Miami.

Just four days after being released by the New England Patriots, the football betting community was surprised when the former Pro Bowl receiver signed with the Dolphins.

Ochocinco has a reputation of being a difficult player to work with, so this latest player-club relationship could be an interesting one.

Aged 34, the former Patriot is heading towards the twilight of his career, but he is a Miami native who made the Pro Bowl on six occasions - most recently in 2009 - and he may well see more game time with the Dolphins than he saw with the Patriots last season, when he caught just 15 passes for a meagre 276 yards.

It must be said that the Dolphins don’t have much depth at the wide receiver position after they traded Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears in March for two third-round draft picks, although they didn't draft in a receiver until the sixth round.

Marshall wasn’t the easiest player to manage, and that was part of the reason for his departure from Miami, but the high-maintenance Ochocinco could also test the Dolphins patience.

His antics have sometimes annoyed his teammates and coaches, and his touchdown celebrations led to an NFL crackdown. But he does have plenty of experience in competition and that is a commodity sorely lacking among the Miami receivers.

With the Dolphins being the stars of this year’s “Hard Knocks” programme, it may well be that the Miami organisation were looking at this move to bring about some more publicity for the team as they look to defy NFL bets and tips in 2012.

The gregarious Ochocinco will certainly provide that, and his career stats also make interesting reading.

He has caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns – hardly numbers that are going to trouble the likes of Jerry Rice - but respectable enough.

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