Ochocinco quiets some of the expectations a bit
FOXBOROUGH - The skeptic in you may not believe it, but Chad Ochocinco said he will be a quieter version of himself as a member of the Patriots.
A man who has become his own public relations machine said his new role with the Patriots may require dialing back the antics.
“It’s a new chapter in my life and I’m happy to be here,’’ Ochocinco said. “It is going to be a little quiet. You won’t get the same Chad you are used to and I probably won’t be talking to the media much, probably not at all really. I just want to play ball and ride the wave.’’
The receiver addressed the media yesterday for the first time since he officially became a member of the Patriots on Friday via a trade with the Bengals.
His comments seemed tempered as he spoke softly about arriving in “heaven’’, thanked the fans of Cincinnati, and declared he is open to doing things differently with his new team.
“I will always be me,’’ Ochocinco said. “It has been a part of my game to always be me, but there is a certain way the Patriots do it and it’s easy for me. I’ve always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win. I think Bill [Belichick], we had our talk, and without him even having to saying anything - there is no need for some of the stuff I did before. There’s no need for it.’’
Ochocinco’s personality isn’t the norm for the Patriots locker room, but Belichick said everyone doesn’t have to be the same.
“I think every player on this team, every person on this team, has their own individual personality,’’ Belichick said. “None of us are the same, so that’s probably a good thing.
There was some of Ochocinco’s personality on display yesterday. He seemed appreciative of tight end Aaron Hernandez giving him No. 85. Hernandez said he knew the issue might come up.
“As soon as he came in, I saw him smiling,’’ Hernandez said. “I knew he was going to talk to me about the number. I already knew as soon as they took him that there was a chance he would want the number. I obviously could have been like, ‘No, I don’t want to give it up,’ but I’m not that type of person.’’
Hernandez wore No. 81 while at the University of Florida, which wasn’t available his rookie year (Randy Moss), so he was more than happy to go back to his old number. He swapped numbers with rookie receiver Jeremy Ross, who now will wear No. 82.
“I thought [Ochocinco] may look better and play better in 85 since that’s his last name, so why not give it to him,’’ Hernandez said.
There may be a reward coming Hernandez’s way.
“I drive a
Ochocinco spent a little more than six minutes sharing his thoughts about joining the Patriots and his meeting with owner Robert Kraft. The entire experience was what Ochocinco expected, he said, adding that he has been given “angel wings’’ and is ready to soar.
Last season, Ochocinco had 67 catches for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns. The numbers may be down from the peak of his career, but Ochocinco said he isn’t concerned about numbers.
“It’s hard to maintain a high level of productivity when things are always up and down,’’ Ochocinco said. “The thing about this place [is that] it’s consistent. It’s always been consistent on the offensive side of the ball and defensively, so that allows me to be able to be consistent also.
“There is only so much that I can control, and the position that I was in, in Cincinnati, I did the best I could to my ability, and I did it in sort of a noisy way and that says a lot for me - to be able to talk it and still walk it. To be able to come here, regardless of who is in, they get it done here, regardless.’’
A key to that success will be learning the system and developing a chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady. Ochocinco said he is paying attention to the receivers and believes they all can bring something different, but he has to prove he can fit with the Patriots.
“Tom and I are cool, we are really cool,’’ said Ochocinco. “This has been a joy. I don’t get to talk to him much except when we played him, but we have had conversations on and off the field. I respect him; he is the best at his craft. I’ve always called him a surgeon and it’s going to be fun being one of his patients, so I am going to enjoy it.’’
Ochocinco didn’t have anything negative to say about his 10 seasons in Cincinnati.
“I’m just thankful for the experience,’’ he said. “The Bengals drafted me and I like to always say that the fans made me who I am today. I am grateful for all that [Cincinnati fans] have done and I’m grateful for all that [owner] Mike Brown has done for me, being able to provide for my family and things of that sort. Especially [coach] Marvin [Lewis], regardless of what everybody thinks from the outside in, kudos to Marvin and everything he has done and everything he has put up with with me.
“I thank Cincinnati and the organization and everything they have done for me.’’
Ochocinco ended his news conference with a request for a group hug from the media. So some things may stay the same.