While the Pittsburgh Steelers are getting set for Super Bowl VLV, the loudest player on one of their division rivals the Cincinnati Bengals, is in the news again but not for his play on the field.
Chad Ochocinco has spent much of his time off tweeting and staying in shape but on Tuesday the six-time Pro Bowler announced on ESPN’s NFL Live that he plans to change back to his birth name of Chad Johnson. Though the change is not yet official, it is in the works, so get out those old number 85 jerseys with Johnson on the back.
He stated during the interview that he wants to stay with the Bengals for the final year of his contract and will start fresh by changing his name back to Johnson.
The 33-year-old adopted his current last name, which is in honor of the number 85 that he wears, during Spanish Heritage Month in 2006. Only a few weeks later he was spotted on the field wearing a sombrero and poncho to keep with the ongoing theme. It all started on October 29, 2006 when Ochocinco came out for warm ups before their game against the Atlanta Falcons with a name plate that said “Ochocinco” on the back of his jersey. It gained much attention by TV crews and it was ripped off by quarterback Carson Palmer just before the start of the contest because it was too big of a distraction. He was later fined $5,000 by the NFL.
Ochocinco wanted to wear the jersey permanently but was not allowed due to the loss of revenue the NFL would have had due to jersey sales. So in 2008 he legally changed his name and it forced the league to put Ochocinco on the back of his jersey. It seems as though he has had enough of his spanish alter-ego and wants a change. The switch could be due to the fact that he is currently engaged and would rather his wife had his birth name of Johnson, instead of Ochocinco.
In his tenth season with the Bengals, Ochocinco did not have his typical statistics. He had 67 receptions for only 831 yards, to accompany his four touchdowns.