When the New England Patriots added disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the roster Thursday, they weren’t done with making changes.
Later in the day they made a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for always controversial but still very productive wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, according to several reports. So, head coach Bill Belichick’s reputation for taking on castoffs grows.
Haynesworth seemed like enough of a handful after a couple of tumultuous years with the Washington Redskins, but the addition of Ochocinco makes the Patriots must-see TV this season. People will tune in just to see if Ochocinco breaks out the infamous Hall of Fame jacket for the season opener or if he is feeling the love from quarterback Tom Brady.
Ochocinco’s outlandish antics seem destined to clash with the no-nonsense Belichick, but apparently the two have struck a mutual respect for each other and perhaps a friendship during their years competing against other and working together during Pro Bowls.
“He became a friend of mine,” Ochocinco said of Belichick last season. “He has a lot of respect for me in my game and I have a lot of respect for him in everything he’s done as a coach.”
The feeling is mutual.
“I like Chad,” Belichick said. “An odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.”
It will be interesting to see how these two buddies work this season, although Belichick does have a reputation for getting the best out of aging malcontent players. Look at his past success with Randy Moss, Rodney Harrison and Corey Dillon.
Ochocinco, a 10-year veteran receiver, could be a huge pickup after the Patriots traded away Moss last season. He can be the deep threat Brady has been missing, and Ochocinco may finally have a quarterback who can get the ball to him way down the field consistently.
Ochocinco was apparently so excited about going to the Patriots that he agreed to restructure the final three years on his contract to make the deal possible. He was due to make $6.38 million from the Bengals this season.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)