Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco, less than two days from the first conference title game of his career, flew to Florida on Friday night, according to Tom Curran of CSNNE.com.
Per Curran, a Patriots source believed that Ochocinco may have gone to Florida due to a death in his family. Curran writes that Twitter messages posted by Ochocinco earlier in the week indicated that his father had passed.
Curran reports that that the team doesn’t know whether Ochocinco will rejoin the team for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reports that, Ochocinco will indeed be attending his father’s funeral, and that Ochocinco intends to return. Weather reports suggest that travel back to Foxborough could be affected by a weekend snowstorm.
In 15 regular-season appearances with the Patriots, Ochocinco caught 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown. Last Saturday against the Broncos, during the first playoff victory of Ochocinco’s career, he participated in only one snap.
We continue to wonder whether coach Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve regarding Ochocinco. Though cutting him could amount to a concession that Belichick never should have given him a $6 million signing bonus, using him sparingly has a similar effect.
As we’ve pointed out in the past, Belichick may think that, at some key moment, Ochocinco will play a significant role in the team’s pursuit of its fourth Super Bowl title. If Ochocinco makes it back to New England by Sunday, that moment could come against a Ravens team that he faced twice per year as a member of the Bengals.
Or maybe, just maybe, Ochocinco will get a chance to play the role of David Tyree in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.