What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way
The moment I walked out of that tunnel that first time I was in the NFL and saw that 70,000 people, I said, "This is me, this is mine, this is what I was meant to do." Some people get scared that first time. Me? Scared my ass. I was loving it.
NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco is one of the most feared weapons in football, having amassed six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons and made it to five straight Pro Bowls. And he does things his way–always big, always fun, always outrageous.
Take Ochocinco’s extravagant touchdown celebrations: performing the Riverdance jig, mock-proposing to a cheerleader, tossing presents into the crowd on Christmas Eve, performing CPR on the football, putting on a gold sport coat that says "Future Hall of Famer." Or his sense of style: the blond Mohawk, the gold teeth, the nude photo shoot for a sports magazine. Or his trash-talking: People tell me I have to tone it down. Man, do you know what I’ve been through to get here? You’re going to tell me to stop having fun? Sorry, it’s not happening. Or his unabashed self-confidence: I got six paintings of myself in the living room of my town house in Cincinnati. Why? Because I love me. I’m great and I know it.
In Ocho Cinco, Chad offers his blunt take on his life and career and on the bizarre game–and business–of football. He takes us back to his days growing up in a poor, dangerous section of Miami, where he was raised by his stern grandmother: You want to know how I turned out like this? Don’t talk to me, talk to my grandmom. A high school quarterback, he went to two junior colleges before landing for a single year at Oregon State. From there he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, a team he eventually helped lead to the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.
Ochocinco reveals what really goes on in the locker room, on the field, and in the clubs where so many of his fellow athletes get in trouble. He talks about fights with teammates, coaches, and owners. He offers his honest observations on drugs, cheating, and women: You get all this money and you get all these women at your disposal. . . . You’re going to do your thing, trust me. You’re going to do it. And he deals frankly with his reputation as a malcontent and drama king: People want to be entertained, but the minute you open up about it and have some fun, they bash you for it. They want you to play inside this little box, and if you ever dare step outside this little box you’re in trouble. Well, there is no box for me. I am completely out of the box.
Ocho Cinco gives fans a rare inside look at pro football, presented by a singular athlete who’s not afraid to speak his mind: What I do may be funny, but nothing I do is a joke.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Crown/Archetype, October 2009
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