No team may want to take a chance with Chad Johnson
Anybody who looks over the list of the most statistically dominant and prolific wide receivers in the NFL the last decade or so will notice the list is not very long. Some of the names that come to mind are Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith, to name just a few.
However, when one looks at a list of wide receivers in the last decade who have experienced a prolific drop off in production and rational decision making on and off the field that resulted in current unemployment, the list is even shorter.
One of these athletes is none other than Chad Johnson. No one on earth is perfect, but this man fits the bill of being prolific on the field and not thinking rationally in any situation off the field, which has stooped him to a level by the means in which I have never seen.
Johnson, drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Oregon State as the 36th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, wasted little time making an impact in the league. Beginning in his second year, Johnson became one of those players that made sleep difficult and health deteriorate for opposing coaches preparing for him.
However, since that time, more specifically his most recent arrest, may have cost Johnson his final opportunity to produce results on the football field.
On July 10, Johnson was supposed to serve a 30-day sentence in jail for violating probation. He almost got away with a plea deal thanks to his attorney, but when Johnson congratulated his attorney with a slap on the backside, the possibility of the decision reversal was thrown out.
So now, not only is Johnson unemployed, but his off-the-field decision making has played out in front of every NFL team looking for veteran presence in the locker room. This will be difficult to do as every team in the league is looking to be known for their performance on the field, what they do for children around the community and exhibiting leadership for younger players on the team.
Johnson, I believe, still can contribute on a high level for an NFL franchise. He is no longer a No. 1 receiver for a team, but he still has enough ability to draw attention on the field, catch all types of passes and exploit mismatches.
It all starts with Johnson's attitude.
He has to prove to himself first, as well as to other teams, that his first priority is football and second and third priorities are to get better. Time is against him; let's face it, he is 35 years old, which is considered ancient in the football ranks.
The NFL varies in how long a player has at any given position. With wide receiver, no matter how hard you work, how many training sessions and workout regimens an athlete does, time will catch up; thats the way life is. So while the high level of performance goes down, a player such as Johnson has to swallow his pride and take whatever opportunities are given to him.
The most positive person in this situation has to be Johnson. There will be setbacks and whispers that he is a shell of his former self, but he has to continue to work and prove to teams the only thing that will be doing the talking is his performance.
So for Johnson, he has to get his act together quickly if he wants a shot, because there aren't many teams looking for a receiver at his age who also have negative track records off the field.
Demerye Paulin is a broadcast journalism senior.