|The Pats reportedly released Ochocinco on Thursday after a lackluster 2011 season. (US Presswire)|
On Thursday, there was a lot of chatter about the Patriots possibly releasing Chad Ochocinco when he left minicamp early, removed "Patriots WR" from his Twitter page (before adding it again) and unfollowed all his Pats teammates. Turns out it's probably not chatter, as CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms an earlier report that Ochocinco will be released by New England.
The news, which was announced by the Patriots later on Thursday, was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who also reported that the Patriots first tried to trade Ocho but were unsuccessful.
"Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the 'Patriot' organization," Ochocinco tweeted. "Fans were [bleeping] wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best..."
That New England couldn't deal Ocho isn't surprising -- they acquired the wideout before the 2011 season for a fifth- and sixth-round pick and he didn't even end up earning that value over the course of the season, catching 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown.
This offseason, the Pats added Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth, and they've got Wes Welker in the fold because he signed his franchise tag. Given that Ocho has reportedly still failed to get a hold of the Pats playbook, it's no big surprise that he's been let go.
It's interesting to note that Bill Belichick gambled last offseason on Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco (on the same day no less) and at the time those looked like pretty good additions. Neither panned out, but the cost wasn't prohibitive and the Patriots still made the Super Bowl.
Where does Ocho go from here? Well, there's some landing spots out there, including a team in the Dolphins that needs a receiver and isn't shying away from the spotlight by hopping on Hard Knocks. Wide receiver-needy teams like the Browns and Vikings will absolutely be attached to rumors surrounding Ocho. Before you dismiss those notions, remember that Ocho was never a bad teammate or a distraction in New England -- if he can show someone that he's got enough talent to compete in the NFL, he'll absolutely land another job before the 2012 season begins.
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