His new Twitter avatar shows a sign pointing to “Rock” in one direction and “Hard Place” in another and that’s a pretty succinct description of where Chad Johnson finds himself personally and professionally.
He has had a dizzying fall since his arrest over the weekend for allegedly headbutting his wife of 41 days, Evelyn Lozada. His marriage is over, with Lozada filing for divorce Tuesday and saying she hopes he “seeks the help he needs.”.
And Tuesday night, there was a glimpse of just how his football career with the Miami Dolphins came to an end, as HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras caught the moment when Coach Joe Philbin told Johnson why he was being released. (Watch here.) It was unusual treatment in the football world, where players being released usually don’t get a sit-down with the head coach. It was compelling, raw and real.
Johnson to Philbin: “I let you down a little bit. A lot. I understand what you're doing, you got the message across clear the first day we met. ... I understood what you wanted from me and what you expected out of me, especially after our talk — having-fun-with-the-media thing. I apologize for embarrassing you, this organization, my teammates.”
Philbin: “I appreciate that. I respect that. I know you're very passionate, and I know you care about your profession. ... I do my best not to fly off the handle and act irrational. It's just, I don't know that this is working for the benefit of you, me, the Miami Dolphins or anybody else. I think you're a good person. Trust me, I acknowledge people make mistakes. Nobody knows that more than me.”
Johnson: “Coach, I've never been in trouble before. Ever. And I buy into your program, most definitely. Because after that talk we had, I was hushed from that point on. And I was gonna stay that way the entire year.”
Philbin: “It's not really just [Saturday] night [when the incident occurred]. It's where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed. I just don't see the mesh right now. I wish it was different. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging, but I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time. It's not like I'm trying to flex my muscle, to say, ‘I'm the head coach, and let's make an example of Chad Johnson.’
“It has nothing to do with that. It's more about how you fit in, and how we fit in together, and where this thing is heading. Just don't see it being where I thought it would be or what I hoped it would be. I'm sure it's not good news; it's not good news for us, either. But I'm certain you can overcome this thing.”
Johnson: “Thank you for the opportunity. I've enjoyed myself. There's not much more I can say. I appreciate it, though. Thank you for the chance.”
Philbin: “I wish we were having a different type of a conversation, I mean that. I wish you well. I really do.”
Johnson also lost his reality show on Monday, with VH1 canceling “Ev & Ocho.” On his OCNN website, Johnson apologized:
“I would like to apologize to everyone for the recent events that have occurred. I would like to wish Evelyn well and will never say anything bad about her because I truly love her to death. I will continue to be positive and train hard for another opportunity in the NFL. To all the fans and supporters I have disappointed, you have my sincerest apologies. I will stay positive and get through this tough period in my life.”
I haven't had to tread water in a long time... special thank you to my fans...family...friendsfor keeping me afloat...— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) August 14, 2012