Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson was, at one point, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. His lightning-quick ability to run the ball down the field and catch whatever was thrown in his direction made him a superstar in the NFL.
On the other side of the coin, however, was a player who appeared to embrace his celebrity more than football. Now retired, however, Johnson remains in the public eye and has built himself a hefty fortune.
Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson’s football career
Johnson came into the NFL as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. The 36th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, Johnson first made his name in college at Langston and Oregon State. Once he made his way to the professional ranks, however, he had to earn his place as an NFL player. He did not disappoint.
Johnson spent most of the 2001 season on the Bengals’ bench, but by the next season, he was starting nearly every game. Johnson could get down the field with the best of them and was already showing star potential in just his second year.
It was the 2003 season when Johnson showed the world exactly who he was, however. This season, which kicked off five-straight appearances in the Pro Bowl, showed Johnson’s unique talent and relentless work at getting better. He had 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns that year on 84 yards per game.
By 2005, he was a bonafide superstar at his position, making his way onto two-straight All-Pro teams in 2005 and 2006. His 1,369 yards in 2006 were a league-best, although he eclipsed 1,400 yards the prior season. While the Bengals were struggling to win, there was no doubt that Johnson was one of the best players in the NFL.
He enjoyed an 11-year NFL career. At retirement, Johnson had 11,059 receiving yards, 67 touchdowns, and countless accolades. Unfortunately, there was another side to him, as well.
The double-edged sword
Chad Johnson always got attention away from football because he actively sought it out. Sometimes, it was harmless, yet theatrical publicity. He famously changed his last name to ‘Ochocinco’ for several years in honor of the nickname that stemmed from his number 85 jersey. He was loud, opinionated, and entertaining in a reality television sort of way.
Johnson had a knack for alienating himself from teammates and throwing them under the bus. His once close bond with Carson Palmer turned toxic by the end of their partnership.
His 2010 partnership with fellow lightning rod Terrell Owens was famous not only for its disappointment on the field but for a failed reality television show. Johnson developed a reputation as a malcontent who was worried more about his star power than his game.
While he once was the face of commercials, television appearances, and entertaining interviews, the goodwill was dwindling. After one season with the New England Patriots, however, he was set to join the Miami Dolphins when a domestic violence controversy involving then-wife Evelyn Lozada effectively put an end to his NFL career. Johnson has been candid about his desire to get better, but the damage was done.
One of the NFL’s former superstars was now a shell of his former self who was making headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Now in retirement, Johnson has received some second wind.
Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson’s net worth and life in retirement
Johnson earned around $46.678 million throughout his career. He tried to line his pockets through other interests, from iPhone apps to appearances on Dancing With the Stars, but his reputation never fully recovered.
When considering the status he had as an NFL player, then, his net worth might be a bit surprising. No longer a superstar, Johnson can be seen on occasional television gigs on ESPN and social media. There were, however, rumors that he might go to the XFL before the league suspended all operations.
Johnson, according to Celebrity Net Worth, is worth $5 million. His former penchant for flaunting his money through food and fashion might have made his worth go down exponentially when the checks stopped coming.
Johnson will always be a complicated figure in the world of professional sports, and while he isn’t hurting, his current position is a cautionary tale for those who want to live the high life after they retire.