Ochocinco is planning an unusual move

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By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / August 10, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - Chad Ochocinco still thinks he’s in heaven - or at least football’s version of it - and while it’s getting easier to find his way around the football field in Foxborough, navigating the city of Boston is still posing a challenge.

He may have hit on a way to aid in that.

Yesterday, as he was wrapping up another subdued (for him) question-and-answer session, he was asked if he had found a place to live yet; he has not, he replied, and he is looking for someone to open their house to him.


“I’m going to do something different,’’ said Ochocinco. “I’m actually going to stay with a fan, probably the first two or three weeks of the season. So that should be fun until I get myself acclimated, I learn my way around and actually just find a place.

He hasn’t thought out the plan all the way yet. He isn’t sure how he’ll pick a fan, but he knows that whoever it is needs two things: an Internet connection and an Xbox gaming system.

Is he serious?

“Have I ever lied to you before?,’’ he shot back.

But what if the person you pick is, well, crazy?

“I rode a bull. I’m crazy. Same thing.’’

Fair enough.

It remains to be seen whether Ochocinco will actually follow through and move in with a local fan, but if he doesn’t, it may be because Bill Belichick puts the kibosh on it. It’s a stretch to think the coach would green-light such a move.

So Ochocinco’s living arrangements are unsettled, but his learning of the Patriots playbook is moving swiftly - quickly enough that he declared himself “very, very confident’’ in practice.

“The reason I’m able to have the confidence, the little bit that I do have right now, is because I’ve been able to consume a lot of information in such a short period of time and I’m able to go with the ‘ones’ [i.e. first-team offense],’’ Ochocinco said. “I’m very comfortable. I’m nowhere near where I need to be to be a part of this offense in a good way, but I’m on the right track.’’

It hasn’t been easy. The 33-year-old receiver came from an offensive system in Cincinnati in which routes are known just by a number, he said, and here in New England, that’s not the case. But new teammates Deion Branch and Wes Welker, along with Tom Brady, have helped.

“They’ve probably made it the easiest with so much verbiage as far as signals and other things in the offense that it’s hard for me to get, that Wes and Deion have been able to somewhat catch me up to speed on,’’ he said.

“I think with those two, including Tom, they have sped up the process to where I think that even with a game being played very soon, I could probably go out there and play at full speed without having to think.’’

He is looking forward to his first preseason game, but feels that his best opportunities to continue learning and assimilating himself are in practice. He and Brady talk often between plays; once the games start, they won’t be able to talk on the field - everything will be conveyed in a look.

Playing with Brady, whom he has admired from afar, is “really, really cool,’’ he said.

A few days ago, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien praised Ochocinco’s work ethic and professionalism, and said he was fitting in with the receiver group.

Ochocinco was asked about the feedback he has gotten from O’Brien, and said he liked the no-frills coaching style O’Brien and Belichick share.

“The thing about here - which I really like - they don’t tell you when you do good,’’ he said. “They more so correct you when you mess up. I like that. So you never know where you are, you’re always just trying to find a way to perfect your craft, which is cool.’’

One other thing that’s been cool: Ochocinco has ditched the GPS system in his car as he tries to learn his way around, though that led to him getting lost for over an hour Sunday when the team had the day off.

Not so cool: some of his many followers on Twitter are none too happy that he has stopped posting messages with the same frequency. Ochocinco said he’s trying to do things the Patriot Way now, and that means scaling back on social media.

“One thing about this city and their sports - all they do is win,’’ he said. “So that stuff I did in the past, there’s no need for it.’’

He may not know where he’s going in Foxborough or Boston just yet, and he may be losing his status as a Twitter darling, but Ochocinco definitely will have to know where he’s going when the Patriots line up against the Dolphins in less than five weeks.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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