The men in stripes began mandatory mini-camp today, and despite the much-ballyhooed absence of Chad Ochocinco for the voluntaries, eighty-five was on hand, in shape, and ready to go in Tuesday’s first practice.
“Trust me like birth control; 99.9 percent,” quipped the star of stage, screen and occasionally, the gridiron. After practice he tweeted, “Carson and I were on point.”
Bengals.com reported that Chad participated in both sessions, despite a tight calf muscle, and made at least one spectacular grab against starters Jonathan Joseph and Chris Crocker.
Chad made NFL headlines with his empty locker at voluntary workouts as he performed on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, and filmed his reality show for VH1. Carson Palmer added fuel to the fire by making a few off-the-cuff remarks that he admits were blown way out of proportion. “He knows what it takes to be great, he knows what it takes to win” said the franchise quarterback. “He’s come in in good shape and looked good for his first day. There’s some rust on him, but that will wear off and he’ll get better each day.”
Nonetheless, it’ll take more than one practice to calm the media ruckus caused by his absence, with NFL talking heads using it as an easy target, and even prompting some in the local circles to question Chad’s commitment to winning and his passion for the game.
Ocho insists the allegations are untrue. “But (when) I’m not here and I’m doing other things, I’m still training and doing the things I need to do to make his job easy when I do come back. That’s my main focus.”
As for us here at the Gab, we didn’t put any stock in the uber-circus that was festering around Palmer’s comments–and rightfully so. As per usual, its much ado about nothing. It’s a lot of brouhaha meant to make headlines, stir controversy, and enliven wild-eyed Steeler faithful.
Chad is back, he’s ready to play, and with a full compliment of talented receivers around him, and an upgraded playbook, he should return to the form that made him one of the NFL’s elite. We must simply accept the fact that, like it or not, Ocho has become a bit of a celebrity, one that has seemingly transcended football. I, for one, have no doubt that he’ll come ready to play as training camp and the preseason approaches.
So sit back, relax, and wait to see in the endzone what he learned on the dance floor.