Chad Johnson says NFL career got off track when he lost focus

Chad Johnson calls sitting out last season one of his 'most humbling moments.' (USATSI)
Last June the Dolphins, desperately in need of a playmaking wide receiver, signed Chad Johnson. That lasted about eight weeks. The team released him during training camp after Johnson was arrested on domestic violence charges.

In the intervening eight months, Johnson remained out of football but admits that, even at 35, he's hoping for another shot at NFL redemption.

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It was a message he reiterated recently.

“Hey, let me tell you something, [not playing football in 2012] was one of the most humbling moments," Johnson said during an appearance on 790 The Ticket in Miami (via "You hear me? I hope everybody is listening. That was one of the most humbling moments ever, to have something that you love and that you work for your entire life taken away from you.

"Now everything is my fault," Johnson admitted. "I always cover the sword. I cover the sword as soon as the situation happens. I’ve gotten the right help as far as my anger management classes. I have a life coach I have been working with and, man, being able to sit back and reflect on all the things and at what point did I lose focus as far as the game of football and remember what’s important and at what point did I forgot how did I get here? What got me to the point where I was one of the best players in the game? It’s so funny because I needed that season off. It was a huge wake-up call.”

Johnson also acknowledged that during the last few years of his playing career he lost sight of what was most important: football.

"We got a seven- to eight-year span where I’m the best at what I do at my position, then I lose focus trying to double dip," said Johnson, who spent the first decade of his career with the Bengals before playing the 2011 season in New England. "Let me tell you what my goal was: How can I make the equivalent of what I make on the field off the field? I found the blueprint and figured out how to do it, but in that blueprint what happened is it caused me to lose my edge as a player. It caused me to lose what made Chad Johnson, Chad Johnson.

"That’s what happened, and no matter how much I try to say I’m going to do this over here and then I am going to try to come back to football, it didn’t work like that," he said. "The time I spent trying to do TV and commercials, that was time I needed to be in the weight room and time I needed to be on the track and field getting ready. It all caught up with the time that I had. You know the saying that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard? At some point along the line I stopped working the way I used to. I still work, but not the way I used to. I wanted to be the best at what I did and I got away from that.”

Johnson sure sounds like he's learned a lot about himself, but whether that will translate to another chance to play in the NFL is another matter.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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