Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is coming home to Florida, saying Monday that he has signed with the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins declined to comment about the signing of Ochocinco, who was released by the New England Patriots last week.
Miami has been in need of an impact wide receiver ever since the team traded Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears in April.
Ochocinco is an 11-year veteran, but his best days may be behind him. In 15 games with New England in 2011, he caught just 15 passes and was a very replaceable part of a dynamic offense. Ochocinco spent the first 10 years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, logging over 1,000 yards receiving seven times.
Having grown up in Miami and attended Miami Beach High School, Ochocinco was said to have the Dolphins atop his list of preferred destinations.
Ochocinco has a house in Miami and could also give the Dolphins some interesting intelligence regarding the Patriots' offense (though it would be easy to overstate the utility of his inside information).
Now that Marshall is gone, the Dolphins are left with a receiving corps that caught just 88 passes in 2011 for 1,105 yards and 4 touchdowns. Legedu Naanee, a free agent pickup, adds another 44 receptions for 467 yards, but no one currently on the roster provides the kind of big play ability that Marshall gave the team.
The 34-year-old Ochocinco might not be the man to replace Marshall, but the Dolphins seem willing to at least give him a shot. Owner Stephen Ross said of the team's receivers Monday, "We don't have a number one receiver, but we have a lot of dependable receivers."
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the Dolphins' interest in Ochocinco "is not an indictment of any of the players that we have; we like the players that we are working with at this point in time." Implying Ochocinco will have to play his way onto the roster, he added, "I don’t think that it’s any different than any position, you always evaluate your roster, again [general manager] Jeff [Ireland] and his guys turn over every stone and they look for ways to improve the club."
Even if he cannot make Dolfans forget Marshall, Ochocinco would at least bring some level of interest to the team with him. He legally changed his name from Chad Johnson in 2008 to mach his jersey number.
Ochocinco also appeared on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2010 and has been fined numerous times by the NFL for his colorful touchdown celebrations. One time he used an end zone pylon to "putt" the football; another time he Riverdanced.