Foxborough, Mass. Chad Ochocinco’s next stop is New England after an offseason in which he had a soccer tryout, rode a bull, took a spin in a race car and waited to be traded.
That wait ended on Thursday when the outspoken wide receiver was dealt to the Patriots, a team coached by Bill Belichick, who closely monitors, and tries to control, his players’ public comments.
A person with knowledge of the trade said the Patriots obtained the colorful Ochocinco from Cincinnati and that he agreed to a new three-year contract. It was not known what the Bengals received in return.
The person spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the trade. The deal was first reported by ESPN.
It was the second major move by the Patriots, who earlier in the day obtained Albert Haynesworth, the disgruntled Washington Redskins defensive tackle, for a fifth-round draft pick in 2013.
The relationship between Belichick and Ochocinco, with extremely different public personas, is actually warm.
“I like Chad,” Belichick said before last year’s season opener between the teams. “I like him as a player. I like him as a person. I like his enthusiasm and the fun he has with football, and I like how he competes on the football field. I have a lot of respect for that.
“An odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.”
They grew closer during Pro Bowl practices.
“It became a relationship beyond just a football player and a coach,” Ochocinco said. “He became a friend of mine. He has a lot of respect for me in my game, and I have a lot of respect for him in everything he’s done as a coach.
“We just became really close and fond of each other’s work. He’s one that I look up to tremendously, one that I’ve never played for, but I show the same respect as if he was my own head coach.”
Now Belichick is his coach.
Ochocinco, who caught 12 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown in a 38-24 Patriots win last year, provides another option for Tom Brady, who has been without a deep target since the Patriots traded Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings after four games last season. In 10 seasons, all with the Bengals, Ochocinco has 751 catches for 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns. He has made the Pro Bowl six times.
But when the Bengals drafted wide receiver A.J. Green in the first round in April, it became likely that Ochocinco would be released, traded or told to take a large pay cut.
The trade follows a one-year partnership with wide receiver Terrell Owens. The pair combined for 139 catches and 13 touchdowns, but the Bengals were 4-12.