JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In a signed DJ Chark jersey, former NFL receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson roamed TIAA Bank Field, living up a late November Sunday as a fan for once.
He took pictures with Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville, yelled for the Jacksonville Jaguars to “go for it, GO FOR IT” on a fourth and short against the Cleveland Browns, connected with old friends who are now coaches for the Browns, and cheered on the Jags two days after jokingly suggesting on Twitter that the club should sign him to their squad.
Johnson was in town with NFL Films, filming segments for “The Grind” who is focusing on the rookie running back sensation James Robinson. He spent the week in Duval, being a tourist in the city and leaving huge tips for waiters struggling during COVID-19.
JaguarReport caught up with the six-time Pro-Bowler and NFL Receiving Yards Leader (2006) to hear his thoughts on Robinson, the Jacksonville receiving corps and rookie corner CJ Henderson—who worked out against Johnson this summer.
First of all, what are you doing here today?
“Oh, I am moving to back Jacksonville I'm relocating, really. Oh yes, the wife right here she's having triplets. And what better place to raise kids.”
How much of that is true?
“None of it (laughs).”
“So here working with NFL Films, a show called “The Grind” on EPIX, make sure you watch. We are featuring James Robinson.”
He's a good one.
“Very good one. His story is phenomenal. Obviously being undrafted, now to being one of the highest producing running backs in the NFL*. Love his story so we did a feature on him. Of course, he had a great game today so that makes it even that much better. And that's pretty much it.”
*Following Robinson’s 159 scrimmage yards versus the Browns, the rookie undrafted free agent 1,170 yards on the season and eight touchdowns.
Did you get to pick James or what was your involvement?
“My involvement is, I am the best when it comes to engaging with today's era of players. They just tell me what to do, and I just go from there.”
Obviously, you’re here for James but you're a big DJ [Chark] fan as well—
“Receivers. All of them have; just receiver’s around the league in general, I like all them. Obviously, DJ being the number one here, the main guy, always been a fan of his.”
Beyond DJ, what do you think about the rest of the corp?
“They're really good, obviously. when you have a corp receivers you, you have your ones, you have your two’s and they all complement each other.”
Keelan Cole was another undrafted guy—
“I LIKE him. He’s [expletive] saucy, so good. He’s saucy. He saucy, I like him a lot, I like his game. He’s very saucy.”
He seems to be able to make up a lot after the catch as well.
“Yeah, yeah he's really nice, he's very shaky, very shifty, speedy guy. I like him, I like him.”
And then you got to see Collin [Johnson] do a lot today What did you think of him?
“Collin was nice, he made some big plays, make some good plays. There were some throws that Mike [Glennon] could have made that would have changed the game. One to Collin that could have been a touchdown on the left side, and other ones to Cole, it I think it was to Cole.”
Yea where he overthrew him on a deep post—
“My word. Oh my God, like those two throws change the dynamic of the game, and the Jaguars win. Plays like that, when you have consistency at the quarterback position, it changes everything.”
I'm glad you said that because I wanted to ask from your perspective of what they have in the receiver corps, does is it feel like they're just a quarterback away?
“I don't want to say that, I don't want to be rude. It's one thing I'd never do is talk about no individuals, right. But with that being the most important position on the team, when you have consistent play there, everything else becomes so much easier. Literally so much easier.
And then I know he didn't get to play today but you went against [rookie corner] CJ [Henderson] this offseason, how did he do?
“CJ was good. Very good—“
He had not even played in an NFL game yet when you went up against him, how did you know?
“Because it's easy to tell what an individual has and what skill set a player has just by the way he moves.”
What does he have?
“I can't tell you, I can't tell you. Just watch, you'll see what I mean. And I haven't been wrong about anybody yet. Nobody, I been wrong,
Like you said, you were originally here for James. What kind of story is he? Is it just because he from a small school so people didn't know about him?
“No, I'm not sure how that worked. I wouldn't say small school but it's all about what you do, where you're at. The NFL and the resources and the eyes that they have, it doesn't matter, you could play for the Sisters of the North in the middle of nowhere, and they will find you, based on production. It's all about timing and opportunity and just getting that opportunity and he is the prime example of, you know, when preparation meets opportunity and it meets, look what happens.”
You can watch “Ochocinco” Johnson’s feature with Robinson on the Rich Eisen hosted show "The Grind” on EPIX this Wednesday.