If seeing is believing, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to doubt that Chad Ochocinco is one motivated individual.
This week in Southern California, we’ve watched first-hand as Ochocinco trained in the boxing ring with former WBC featherweight champion Kevin Kelley in Hollywood. We’ve watched him run the legendary sand dune in Manhattan Beach. We also watched as the Bengals conducted three straight days of OTAs without him in Cincinnati.
There are two sides to the debate over whether veterans need to be present at voluntary OTAs. Some, like NFL Network analyst and former player Solomon Wilcots, believe Ochocinco should be with his team. Yet I’m told emphatically by several former players that for veterans like Ochocinco — who have been in the same systems with the same coaching staff — OTAs are just not necessary. A fair and topical debate of which there may not be a better posterchild for than Ochocinco.
With that as the backdrop, this week’s Ochocinco Tour reach NFL Network and NFL.com on Friday, and in a brief conversation, Ochocinco used words like “embarrassed” and “humbled” when talking about last season. He said his ankle was not an issue, and if there’s one thing he learned from 2008 it was to keep his mouth closed. As for this offseason and his solo workouts away from the Bengals, Ochocinco said it’s important to him to show the fans, his coaches and teammates — most specifically Carson Palmer — that’s he’s still working hard.
“I want No. 9 to understand the type of animal he’s going to get this year,” Ochocinco said during the one-on-one chat. “We’ve played together for awhile. He’s going to get a different type of 85. I’ve never worked this way before. I’ve always worked, but because of my pride and me being hurt and humbled last year the way I was, he’s going to get a different type of animal all together. Especially when someone challenges your pride.”
When asked if coach Marvin Lewis was on board with his absence, Ochocinco would only say he’s been “isolated from everybody.” He also indicated he has not spoken to Palmer this offseason, but is sending his QB a message “here and there” through TV.
“He’ll get the point,” Ochocinco said. “He’ll be fine.”
Ochocinco didn’t shy away from a line of questioning about his future with the Bengals, admitting his frustrations with wanting out in Cincinnati are in the past. It sounded as though he’s accepted his immediate future remains with the Bengals, and in doing so has turned the proverbial page.
“I’m a Bengal,” explained Ochocinco. “My owner and I, we’re joined at the hip. We’re going to stay joined at the hip until he says otherwise. So I’m not going to fight that battle, which I can’t win, and I can’t control. So why not put all my efforts and my energy back into it just like I have every year. Except last year, I was sort of frustrated, you know. That’s all.”
Ochocinco did drop this nugget at the end of the conversation — he said he’s going to fight this offseason through Golden Boy Promotions. Stay tuned.