Chad Ochocinco on ‘dating Tom Brady’ and the first ‘rough year of marriage’ with Patriots
|02.01.12 at 12:35 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — While he spoke for over 20 minutes at Tuesday’s Super Bowl “Media Day,” Chad Ochocinco was intent Wednesday on setting the record straight on how he feels about his first year with the Patriots, a year he hope won’t be his last.
He made no secret about his desire to come back to the Patriots next season for the second year of his three-year, $11.5 million contract, which includes a $4.5 million signing bonus agreed to in July.
“You [expletive] right. Can I curse? Don’t bleep it, I’m just being me. [Expletive] right,” Ochocinco told reporters Wednesday morning.
“Let me address this, the New England Patriots is an elite organization where everything is in house and always stays in house, it’s like Fort Knox. There are no leaks, no sources, so claimed, going around the league. There’s no such thing. So, with the media, with the fans, with everyone else, is their public opinion on what they feel might be the problem. They don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Nobody does,” he said.
Ochocinco caught just 15 passes and one touchdown this season, his first with Patriots after a late summer trade from Cincinnati landed him in Foxboro.
Is the system difficult, Ochocinco was asked.
“No, there’s no system [problem],” he said “I’m extremely intelligent, extremely intelligent. Football sense, life, the way I carry myself, the things I do, we can all see I have sense, I’m smart. It’s just that it didn’t play out the way it was supposed to play out.”
Ochocinco was also asked about his relationship with quarterback Tom Brady.
“We’re dating,” he joked with a straight face. “First year of a marriage is always rough, always rough. I’ve always had the chip on my shoulder, that’s my style, it’s the way I am. If I don’t have the chip, I’m going to create it by saying something to someone who had to deal with me that week. I’m just going to be quiet.”
Brady praised Ocho’s work ethic on Wednesday once again.
‘This playoff run, this Super Bowl is very meaningful. Many would say it didn’t go the way I would like it, not up to my expectations. Everybody can see that, but I don’t think this season negates a career of what I consider greatness, worth of fun. To get to this point quietly, most people call it bittersweet, but it’s a blessing. People will play this game for years, for years and many names, many greats without having a chance to sniff the Super Bowl. To be able to be here, regardless of how this season went is a blessing, period. Especially where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through. To get to this, not just this stage, but the NFL in general. I’m happy, it could be my last one. There’s no reason to hang my head, there’s no reason to be upset. It is what it is and I’m still smiling. I’ve been smiling all year.’
Would it be hard for him to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl if he doesn’t play?
‘Why would it be hard? When you’re part of a team, I mean there’s nothing hard about it at all,” he said. “There’s always a way to be yourself in the ‘Patriot Way.’ Look at Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez is nothing but me in the ‘Patriot Way.'”
While conforming to the “Patriot Way,” Ocho insisted he is still enjoying his first Super Bowl week as a participant.
‘Yeah, most definitely. I can still have fun,” Ochocinco said. “I sort of have to feel my way through it first. This season’s been, it’s more of a feel my way through it. It’s a learning process. You just can’t come into something new and just bust the door down and say, ‘Hey, I’m here.’’
Then the subject turned to his former team – the Bengals – and whether he followed them as they earned a wild-card berth.
‘I followed the receivers.’ Ocho said, before being asked if was surprised A.J. Green did so well replacing him in Cincy.
‘Surprised? No. No reason to be surprised that somebody that I’ve watched, somebody that I’ve studied, knowing what he’s done in college and knowing what he’s capable of doing in the league. What he did this year was no surprise.’
‘He’s really good. He’s still raw. That’s the scary part. He’s still raw, but he’s a great talent and he’s only going to get better. Especially the tools he has, he’s only going to get better as time goes on. You don’t drop off.’
Has he spoken with Bengals owner Mike Brown, who finally gave in and traded him to the Patriots in late July.
‘No man. I think if they haven’t mentioned it, I sent everyone a letter, a ‘thank you’ note. I think that’s the best I can do. Everybody who had anything to do with me being there, I hope they have it framed.
“It’s a business. That’s just the way it goes. Mike was good to me. The city was good to me. The media we had our ups and downs. I made it fun. The fans were epic for 10 straight years. Of course, I had my riffs and raffs. Like any human being I’m not perfect. Other than that, there’s nothing bad I can actually say, period.”
Ocho reiterated how grateful he is to be on this stage, even if his role is diminished.
‘It’s cool,” he said. “Again, I just explained to somebody early that it’s a blessing to be on this stage. So many players play this game for such a long time, some of the greats. The Marinos, Barry Sanders, I don’t think he was ever able to grace this stage, so many. So just to be able to be here is a blessing to me. What I do is I think back to all I’ve been through just to get to the NFL in general. Everybody, of course myself also, is emphasizing individual statistics this year about me not having a great season, me not producing in my normal way.
“But for some reason it’s just so odd that I changed my ways, I approach the situation a lot differently and all the sudden I finally get to that stage. What is it? What do you want to take? One hundred catches, 1,000 yards and be at home enjoying watching from home or not have the same numbers and have a chance of playing on the biggest stage of your life. What do you want? There’s one of them I’ve already done already. This is something I’ve never done. And I’m actually doing it. I’m not playing a video game.’