Miami Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin said today that the decision to cut Chad Johnson wasn’t based solely on the wide receiver’s arrest over the weekend on a domestic-violence charge.
“It was more a body of evidence from June 11th forward,” Philbin said of the date Johnson, then known as Chad Ochocinco, signed with the Dolphins. “When he came in on June 11th, we sat down, and we talked, and I was very clear as to the expectations of the program. It just didn't work out.
“It's more about the fit. In my gut, I didn't think the fit was going to be beneficial to either party moving forward, whether in the short term or the long term. That's really what it was all about. It wasn't about one specific thing; it just wasn't going to work.”
Philbin isn’t the first coach to come to that conclusion. After a disappointing 2011 season in which he never really connected with Tom Brady, Johnson, 34, was cut by the New England Patriots in early June.
Philbin’s agitation grew as soon as training camp began and HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras began rolling. Among other things, Philbin was not pleased with Johnson’s profanity-laced press conference early in camp and, in the Dolphins’ preseason opener Friday night, Johnson dropped the one pass thrown his way.
“In making these decisions, we base our evaluations on a set of criteria that support our organizational goals and include a player's performance both on and off the field,” Philbin said. “Essentially, we take into account the overall body of evidence to determine whether an individual is the right fit for this organization, and more specifically this football team.”
There were other immediate repercussions from Johnson’s arrest on a charge that he head-butted his wife of five weeks, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada. VH1 canceled its “Ev & Ocho” show, set to debut Sept. 3. “Hard Knocks” continues, with an HBO spokesman promising that the Johnson situation would be addressed in the episode that airs Tuesday night at 10 p.m. (EDT).
Dolphins players had mixed reactions to the news that Johnson had been cut. Some, like Karlos Dansby, offered support, calling Johnson “a great teammate.” Others agreed with Philbin; one unnamed player told the Miami Herald “we don’t need no clowns here.”
No matter. Philbin, in his first season as the coach of the Dolphins after serving as an assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers, made it clear that he is in control of the team.
“Let’s be honest,” Philbin said. “You have a boss, I have a boss. I don’t always agree with what the boss says every single time. I’m of the opinion you should keep things in-house in that regard.”
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