In what is perhaps the most shocking move of the new 2011 season, the Bengals sent controversial wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots today. Reports differ on what the Bengals received in the deal, but it appears to be one or two late round draft picks, certainly not a king's ransom for the one-time pro-bowler.
The tension between Ochocinco and head coach Marvin Lewis has been palpable over the years, including a reported physical confrontation between the two at half time of the playoff game with the Steelers in 2005. Eighty-five also had numerous flare ups with his quarterback, Carson Palmer. In fact, many point to Chad's remaining with the Bengals as a key factor in Palmer's "retirement." Former Bengal and now ESPN commentator David Pollack tweeted that had the Bengals done this earlier, Palmer might still be with the team.
This move undoubtedly moves first round draft choice, AJ Green into the spotlight as the number one receiver. Based on how he finished last season, Jerome Simpson would also appear to be in the mix to start. Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell also return to the Bengals with experience at the position.
With Palmer, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and now Ochocinco gone, the Bengals are in full rebuild mode on the offensive side of the ball. As for the Patriots, Bill Belichek will have his hands full with Chad and newly acquired Albert Haynesworth on the squad. It's another challenge for the man who "tamed" Corey Dillon and Randy Moss.
In other news, former Raider linebacker, Thomas Howard signed a free agent deal with Cincinnati today. Details to follow on Bengals 101.
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