Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
After the Cincinnati Bengals failed to repeat their success following the 2005 season, one of the most hurtful things Chad Ochocinco admitted was that he was made the scapegoat for the team's various failures.
The former Pro Bowl receiver put up great numbers in 2006 and 2007, yet he simply could not fathom why and how such a productive player was blamed for the team's shortcomings.
The media and fans pointed to his various distractions. Once seen as entertaining, he kept making guarantees that went awry. There was a perception that he appeared more enamored with his next touchdown celebration than getting the Bengals out of their funk. The antics began to wear on a team already struggling to get to .500.
At least in the early going, Ochocinco could be heading down that same road in 2009.
Training camp hasn't even started and here is a sample of his recent statements:
Ochocinco said he will use Twitter before, during and after games, leading to questions about his focus.
The receiver also guaranteed the Bengals will make the playoffs, which everyone surely will remember down the road.
This is likely just the beginning of the "Chad Ochocinco Show."
Wait until HBO's "Hard Knocks" follows his every move in training camp. Wait until the games begin. Who knows what Ochocinco will do or say next?
Perhaps Ochocinco is at his best when he's having fun and "being Chad." By all accounts, Ochocinco worked hard in the offseason and looks poised to put up solid numbers.
But if the Bengals as a team do not win, and Ochocinco continues to make a huge spectacle, right or wrong, he could find himself once again wondering how he became such an easy target and scapegoat this season.