With the Miami Dolphins losing two key wide receivers this week due to opt-out decisions, one former veteran has reached out to offer them a lifeline.
Miami Dolphins fans will remember the 2012 pre-season extremely well, thanks in large part to the team being the focus of HBO’s Hard Knocks series.
That summer saw the emergence of Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future, the fairly surprising trade of Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts, and the efforts of Chad Johnson (previously Ochocinco) to remain in the NFL with the team.
Things didn’t work out with Johnson in 2012, with some profanity-laden press conferences, some struggles in camp, and the arrest that led to him being cut by the team.
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Fast forward eight years and the Dolphins now find themselves in a surprisingly difficult situation with their wide receiver corps thanks to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with both Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson deciding to opt-out of the 2020 campaign.
This leaves DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Jakeem Grant as the main guys in training camp, something that the team might want to consider changing as they move closer and closer to Week One of the season.
So could Johnson, who was once one of the most dominating and colorful players in the league, provide them with some much-needed cover?
Well, the 42-year-old Miami native is certainly open to the idea, even reaching out to the team on Twitter, offering his services and commenting on his close proximity to the team’s facility as a benefit to both parties.
During his 11-year career in the NFL, Johnson caught 766 passes for an astonishing 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns – being named to the Pro Bowl six times and being named an All-Pro twice in that span.
After his disappointingly brief spell with the Dolphins, Johnson didn’t see a football field for two years, when he signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
Things did not go to plan north of the border, with Johnson catching just seven passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in five games. He did not report to the team’s mandatory training camp in before the 2015 season and subsequently spent the year suspended by the team.
His last taste of action came in the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional (LFA) for the Monterrey Fundidores, though it was only for one game.
Despite his advanced age, Johnson three passes with one of them being a 41-yard touchdown – not bad for someone that has barely played the game over the previous five years.
So would it be worth the Dolphins contacting Johnson with regards to their weakened receiver corps? No, it wouldn’t.
Johnson was a great player in his day but he was always a personality that the Dolphins found difficult at times even back in 2012, with Joe Philbin and Jeff Ireland running the show.
Current head coach Brian Flores is adamant about bringing in guys that have a certain character and work ethic, with the former New England Patriots coach likely to be more than familiar with Johnson after his last professional season in the NFL in 2011.
Football is a different game from eight years ago and an aging receiver that last played a down in the NFL regular season a year earlier than that is in no way going to add any value to the team and while, it is an amusing and somewhat nostalgic image to picture the two parties linking up again, this will be swept under the rug immediately and Flores will continue his job of building a competitive NFL team.