Chad Johnson calls his return to football “a joy”

For decades, the CFL has served as a periodic curiosity for Americans.  At one point, the Canadian equivalent of the NFL invaded the contiguous 48, with a quintent U.S. teams including the short-lived “Baltimore CFL Colts.”

The NFL revved up the litigation engine, and the “CFL Colts” became the “Baltimore Football Club” in 1994 and the “Baltimore Stallions” in 1995, the year they won the Grey Cup.  Then, the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens and the Stallions vacated the country, with the franchise moving back to Montreal and resurrecting the Alouettes.

The Alouettes have renewed relevance to American football fans again because former NFL receiver Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson has joined Montreal after two seasons out of football.  He compared catching a single pass in a preseason game to losing his virginity (hopefully, the story of how he lost his virginity is a bit more interesting), and Chad caught only two passes in his regular-season debut.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com, which devoted an entire week to covering the CFL, talked to Johnson on the field after the game.

A joy,” Johnson told King regarding the experience.  “A joy.  That feeling, as a kid, you wake up on Christmas, the excitement.  I’m just thankful to have a chance to play again.  I didn’t care about catches, I didn’t care about the ball.  I mean, the feeling just being part of something again, being part of this organization. . . .  I mean, words really can’t describe how it felt, to lose something that I worked for all my life and have it snatched from me because of my irresponsibilities and my mistakes.  A lesson was learned.  Humbling experience.  I don’t know what to say.  It’s awesome.”

His performance wasn’t exactly awesome.  King points out that Johnson lined up split to the right, avoiding much of the pre-snap motion and maneuvering that, coupled with the 20-second play clock, makes playing receiver a “track meet,” as Johnson called it.  He got little help from former NFL quarterback and Heisman winner Troy Smith, who per King threw “wild pitches” and generally “looked inaccurate, and that’s putting it mildly.”

American interest in the CFL remains tepid, and that’s putting it mildly.  But with ESPN acquiring exclusive CFL broadcasting rights, there’s a chance the audience will be force fed more than Chris Berman’s perfunctory Grey Cup references in November.

It’s apparently working for soccer, largely because of the American angle.  So maybe the CFL should move a team or two back to the U.S.

25 responses to “Chad Johnson calls his return to football “a joy”

  1. Based off of the number of comments, it’s safe to say Chad Johnson is yesterday’s news.

  2. What else is he going to do? He squeeked through high school unable to get into a major college because of his grades, I do not believe he has a college degree, the networks don’t want him, his reality show is gone, he blew his millions and is flat broke. Thumbs down will not change those facts.

  3. Carson Palmer chose to retire rather than be forced to endure another season with chad ochojohnsoncinco and his annoying, cancerous locker room/on-field personality.

  4. I have two things to say: I can’t stand Chad Johnson and I can’t stand soccer. Other than that, I have nothing to say.

  5. Competition makes everyone better is the mantra of nearly every player and coach – that would undoubtably apply to some for the NFL. It’s been needed for a long time.

  6. “‘So maybe the CFL should move a team or two back to the U.S.”

    I hear there may be a vacancy in Buffalo soon. They’re pretty much Canadian anyway. lol

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the CFL game while it was in the USA. I happened to live in Shreveport at the time and even though our local team wasn’t very good, the style of play and the quirks in the rules made it a lot of fun to watch.

    I think if they hadn’t come to the USA thinking they’d make hundreds (or even tens) of millions of American dollars, they could have succeeded. The management of the Shreveport team came into town as if they were doing us a favor and that didn’t sit well locally. They got off the ground poorly with ticket sales because of their attitude and because their team was bad.

    If I recall the Baltimore team sold well but they were the only financial success in the entire debacle. Then when an American team won the Grey Cup, the Canadians freaked out and pulled out of the USA completely.

    But done right, the league could find a niche here.

  8. Although it is obvious that Chad’s best playing days are behind him, it is great to have him in the CFL. The CFL is an exciting game to watch, just don’t compare it to the NFL as there are a different set of rules which make the comparisons difficult. Expansion in the US could only be in the northern states which currently don’t have an NFL franchise close by.

  9. Even at 85% of his former ability he is still 50% better than his opponents in the CFL.

  10. Oh, i get it …..because Chad said Cincinnati was color TV and Pukesberg was B&W……he was 10 years off…..but he was correct. Pitt is old news

  11. I remember going to CFL games for the Colts/Stallions (they were still called the Colts the first year, just not officially). I was young at the time so I did not understand how different it was from the NFL.

    How many other cities have won championships in the NFL, CFL, and USFL?

  12. “Even at 85% of his former ability he is still 50% better than his opponents in the CFL”.

    As most people do, you underestimate the talent level of the CFL. He may be entertaining for the CFL fans, but by no means will he dominate.

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