Humble Ocho

Chad Ochocinco came to New England as one of the most flamboyant personalities in the league. Yet after getting his chance to celebrate on Thursday night, Ocho declined, calmly walking away. Is this the new Ocho?

     After catching a 39-yard touchdown bomb during the first Monday Night Football game of the 2007 NFL season, Chad Johnson pulled out a mustard colored jacket resembling those worn by NFL Hall of Famers with the words "FUTURE H.O.F. 20??" The following year he changed his last name to Ochocinco to match his uniform number (#85).

     Ochocinco was brash, brazen, self-promoting and arrogant for a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals.

     Then he was traded to the New England Patriots prior to training camp this season and something happened to Chad. For the first time in his career, the social media Twit became humble.

     After scoring an 8-yard touchdown reception, his first in a Patriots uniform, during the second preseason game against Tampa Bay, Ochocinco did not celebrate at all. He simply shook Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's hand and began to discuss the play and walked calmly off the field. No in-your-face-bravado or self-promoting prop or gimmick. He just walked off the field with a focused look on his face.

     When asked why he didn't celebrate, "I play for (Bill) Belichick now!" he said following the game.

     Ochocinco is obviously serious about football this season and respects where he is playing now. He's not thinking about the Hall of Fame or doing bad cable shows (i.e. the T.Ocho Show), he's in New England to play football.

     Contributing to the new humble Chad is his new surroundings. "As time goes on, you gel and you get comfortable with that person (Brady) and the offense and I'm just not comfortable yet," he said. "I want to hurry up and get the feeling to where I can somewhat be me."

Ocho and Brady
New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) is congratulated by quarterback Tom Brady (12) after he scored a touchdown during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

     Ochocinco has the support of Brady. "It's just [that] he's really finding a roll for himself," said Brady following the game. "He's been practicing hard. He's very competitive. It's a good group we have out there, so we just got to continue to build."

     Brady threw to Ochocinco four times in the game, but Chad was only able to pull in two catches for 14 yards, including the touchdown.

     Perhaps not being the focal point of the offense, like he was in Cincinnati, has him humbled. The Patriots have Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez as solid offensive weapons. Brady has other quality options to throw the ball to and Ochocinco seems to accept his role as just being part of the receiving corps.

     "Everybody is like a machine out there," said Ochocinco. "I'm that one part that isn't up to speed with everybody else.

     "I need people to stay in my ear, I need Tom Brady, I need all of them," he said. "I need them to stay in my ear constantly, especially in the preseason. The more info I can absorb and become a sponge and learn from those guys that have been here and understand the system, the more comfortable I get, the more relaxed I am; the better I play."

     Time will tell if this new humble Ochocinco is here to stay or do old Bengals always show their true stripes?

Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin (here. )

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