Plainly, Chad Johnson was no longer a star and on shaky ground with the Dolphins even before his weekend arrest.
Since being signed in June he had done little on the field to indicate he was poised, at 34, to recapture his Pro Bowl past in a career that has not seen him a consistently premier receiver since around 2007.
He clowned himself and embarrassed the organization with that profane introductory news conference, and then Philbins rebuke splayed all over the initial episode of HBOs Hard Knocks last week left Johnson seething.
He felt like Philbin cut his [testicles] off, a teammate told me Monday.
Johnson blames his poor play in New England last year on the personality-smothering of old-school Bill Belichick. Chad counted on more freedom to be himself in Miami, his hometown, and was pouting after that step-in-line admonishment by Philbin.
Well, sorry, Chad, but if not spewing F-bombs in public while representing your team is too much to ask, I think the issue there is with you, not your employer.
(Count it as an irony that it was a [bleeping] news conference and subsequent scolding aired on a reality series that helped fashion the Dolphins demise of Johnson, a player who craves the cameras and spotlight to near obsession).
The next day when asked by local reporters about that conversation aired on Hard Knocks, Johnson declared, I dont do media anymore. That would have been better received as a promise than a threat. In any case his self-imposed boycott lasted one day.
And the last time we saw Chad Johnson as a Dolphin he was dropping the only pass thrown to him in Fridays first exhibition.
The thing with a guy like this is youre never quite sure where the real life ends and the reality show begins. We speak of man who legally changed his last name to Ochocinco for the publicity. Johnson has also paid a league fine for being on Twitter during a game, sported a Mohawk and donned a mustard-colored, Hall of Fame-looking jacket as an end-zone celebration.
Until VH1 canceled The Ev & Ocho Show on Monday, I half suspected Johnson and his wife contrived the whole head-butting episode as material to spice up their show. Only involving this guy might such a thought have even occurred.
The Dolphins wont miss Johnsons diminishing skills and will miss the distraction he is even less.
Maybe the NFLs one-man reality show will catch on elsewhere. We wish him and that new team much luck