August 09, 2011
When new New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco told reporters on Tuesday that he plans to live at a fan's house to get settled, it gave the personable pass catcher a mortal lock on headlines and 60 or so seconds' airtime on Sportscenter (either spelling).
"I'm going to do something different, I'm actually going to stay with a fan for the first two, three weeks of the season," he said Tuesday. "That should be fun, until I get myself acclimated and learn my way around."
Ochocinco hasn't yet picked the fan.
"I'm not sure how it's going to work, but they have to have Internet and have to have Xbox," he said. "That's about it."
To American sports fans, it sounds off-beat even on the Ochocinco scale. Over the years, the flaky flanker has (a) changed his last name from Johnson to represent the numerals in his jersey; (b) competed on a TV dance contest; (c) tried out for a Major League Soccer team during the NFL off-season; and (d) competed in a Professional Bull Riders event for kicks (he lasted 1.5 seconds on the bull, slightly longer than it typically took former Patriot Randy Moss to quit on a play last season).
A player living with a fan is unheard of in football, even in the CFL.
However, it is part of the mosaic of major junior hockey, where players billet with host families from the time they leave home at age 15 or 16. Who better to inform Ochocinco that his Internet and Xbox criteria might be a little loose?
The ever-helpful Seattle Thunderbirds have offered "the experience and expertise" of billet coordinator Jeff Caso to help Ochocinco find a suitable domicile, pointing out there are so many more factors to consider. Those include but are not limited to:
*How big is their refrigerator?
*Will you have to do dishes?
*Are they a fan of one of your previous teams?
*Are they a fan of Dancing with the Stars?
*Do they like Terrell Owens more than you?
*Is Carson Palmer (Ochocinco's former quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals) already living there?
*Do you get your own bathroom?
*Is the billet family surname Johnson? If so will you be changing your name?
*Do they play the Sporcle iPhone App more than they play your "Mad Chad" iPhone App?
*When it comes to a hybrid vehicle, do they choose a Honda Insight or Ford Fusion over a Toyota Prius?
*Does the family own a copy of Urban Cowboy on Blu-Ray?
Case and the Thunderbirds are uniquely qualified for helping athletes adjust to new cities; as a U.S. team in the Western Hockey League, they've helped dozens of Canadian boys adapt to living in a major American city. This is a publicity stunt, of course; but it's far beyond the Thunderbirds trying to entice LeBron James to take his talents to the ShoWare Center like they did last summer. This is news Ochocinco can use.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports . Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.