Wide receiver Chad Johnson struggled with Patriots last season but expects a "monster year." (Elsa/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson expects to have a "monster year" in 2012 as he goes back to being himself after his "personality was controlled" by the New England Patriots last season, he said in an interview with the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson.
“This season is going to be a monster year," said Johnson, who changed his name back from Ochocinco this week. "I don’t care who’s playing quarterback. I’m going to have a great year.
"The first day I get to camp, everybody’s mouth can drop [the bleep] open. My game is at the point where it doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback. Oprah can play quarterback and we’ll be all right."
..."I’m going back to my normal ways,” he told Jackson. “My normal ways, when I was at my best, when I got fined, look at the production those years. Usually things don’t go right when you try to change the way you do things. I’m back to normal.
“My personality was controlled last year. You didn’t hear me at all last year. Zero. Zilch. When my mouth is running, it forces me to perform. It’s never been vindictive. I never got anybody in trouble.
“One of the things I like about being here, that’s so refreshing, and is such a weight off my back, is I can be me, whatever that entails. When I can be me, I am loose. Everything just flows for me. Whether it’s the style of play, the way I learn.”
The 34-year-old receiver led the NFL in receiving yards in 2006. From 2003 to 2007, he had at least 87 catches and 1,274 yards each year. But his numbers have dropped since then. Last year with the Patriots, his first season away from the Cincinnati Bengals, Johnson caught 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown.
“One of the things they like to say is, ‘How much does he have left in the tank – which is very dumb when it comes to me because I never ran on gas in the first place," Johnson told Jackson. "I take care of my body. Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs. Training ridiculous. Gym rat. But I don’t want anyone to see that side. I want you to see the fun side, the [expletive] talking side.”