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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:54 PM ET, 07/29/2011

Chad Ochocinco, ‘landing in heaven,’ joins Patriots; Haynesworth arrives


Chad, Tom. Tom, Chad. (Charles Krupa / AP)

Chad Ochocinco is one happy camper. Perhaps later today, Albert Haynesworth will share his joy in a similar fashion.

Oh, sure, the New England Patriots’ wide receiver/soccer player/rodeo bull rider/designer/OCNN mogul must wrest No. 85 from Aaron Hernandez, but he showed up for his new team’s first practice/walk-through, watching from the sideline. Haynesworth was in the building and may be watching the team this afternoon.

[Update — The number problem apprarently has been settled. In the afternoon session, Ochocinco was wearing an 85 jersey as he practiced with the team; Hernandez was wearing No. 81 shorts. ]

Ochocinco met quarterback Tom Brady, an event that prompted the whirring of camera motor drives. He liked one photo so much — it’s the one above — that he made it his new Twitter avatar. A little later he tweeted:

It's 1 thing to jump and be able to land on 2 feet but I had no idea I was landing in Heaven.Hope all is well on this good Friday.less than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply


Caption contest! (BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Ochocinco explains his OCNN network to Bill Belichick and how he just has to tweet. Brady followed his coach’s preferred way of dealing with the press: address the swarm and reveal little.

“This is the first time I had a chance to be with him on the field. I know he’s excited,” Brady said. “I talked to him earlier. He’s excited to be out here and he’s excited to be a part of a new team. ...

“I’ve watched him play over the years, I remember I met him at the Pro Bowl a long time ago. He’s just fun to be around. He loves football and I think that’s why guys do well here, because they love the game, they love to compete. They show up and they want to win. I think to be a good player on this team, you have to be able to put the team first.”


Deion Branch and Ochocinco. (BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)
Which brings us to Haynesworth. For all Ochocinco’s showmanship, he is a dedicated worker. Haynesworth, well, he’s Haynesworth. Earlier in the day, he and Brady exchanged plasantries and Brady reminded him about a monstrous 2009 preseason hit. Big Al applied.

“I saw him this morning, I said, ‘I still haven’t forgiven you for that.’ He said, God, I’ve got a lot of friends up here and they’ve all given him a lot of grief over the years,” Brady said. “He’s a big guy and there’s a lot of competition at the D-line position. And Chad’s in the same situation, hopefully. He can come in and fill a role and be a big part of the success of this team. I think that’s what we’re all trying to do.”

Let’s flash back to that hit and what Haynesworth had to say about it at what was a much simpler time for him in Washington: “I mean, it wasn’t like I was hitting [Brady’s wife] Gisele or something; he’s the quarterback. It was good, it was fine. I mean, I was trying to tackle him, but I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I’m not that type of a player, you know? I’m actually a big Tom Brady fan. I’m a big Patriots fan. I’ve always like the Patriots, I’ve always liked Coach Belichick. I just like the way [Brady] is.”

By  |  01:54 PM ET, 07/29/2011

 
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