With the NFL in a lockout, Chad Ochocinco, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, has said that it is a good time to check into another sport. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Switching from football to soccer won't be easy for Chad Ochocinco, if it happens at all.
By the end of his first workout with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday morning, the star wide receiver of the Cincinnati Bengals was panting hard and obviously exhausted.
"Exactly what I expected," said the six-time Pro Bowler. "I would be a little winded being that I haven't ran at this pace or this level since the end of our season of football. It was fun. I didn't expect to come in here and be Superman."
Ochocinco plans to go through with the four-day tryout, and, if possible, join the team.
"I would play for free," he said.
Ochocinco opened his four-day trial with Kansas City's MLS team with more than 40 media representatives lining the practice field — roughly 10 times the number that would normally show up for a midweek practice.
Moving fluidly on the cold, blustery day and taller than almost everyone else on the field, his athleticism was obvious. But so was his soccer rust after not playing the sport competitively since he was in the 10th grade.
"The time I've had off from the game of this football has been a very long time," he said. "There's no way I can make up that ground, the years I've been away from the game. But I do have a love for it."
With the NFL in a lockout and a court fight looming, Ochocinco has said now is a good time to check into another sport. Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said he tried to use the practice to help Ochocinco get acclimated to something new.
For much of the day, he had individual instruction from assistant coach Zoran Savic.
"He was a little bit hesitant early on, a little bit tentative," said Vermes. "But I think now he's got a good feel for what a day goes like for us. You can see he's very coachable. I wouldn't try to make any determinations at this point."