Chad Johnson has all the main career receiving records for the Cincinnati bengals, earning him the status as the greatest pass catcher in franchise history. Johnson, who also has gone by the name "Ochocinco," already has passed over that title to Ja'Marr Chase after just one season playing for the franchise.
"I think I can say this, he's probably the best Bengals receiver to don the damn stripes," Johnson said on CBS Sports HQ Thursday. "He had a stellar rookie season that's never been done. He's playing in a Super Bowl. I had a decade to help my team achieve and get to. I didn't do that."
"I might have been the most entertaining receiver -- maybe player -- to ever play this game. What Ja'Marr has done in just a year's time would identify him as the best Bengal to ever play, especially at the receiver position."
Johnson certainly can stake that claim for Chase, based on his tremendous rookie season in Cincinnati. Chase finished with 81 catches for 1,455 with 13 touchdowns this season, averaging 18.0 yards per catch. He finished fourth in the NFL in receiving yards, third in receiving touchdowns, and second in yards per catch.
Chase's 279 receiving yards in the postseason are the most by a rookie in NFL playoff history and his 1,741 combined receiving yards in the regular season and postseason are the most by any rookie in league history. At 21 years old, Chase is the youngest NFL player with multiple 100-yard receiving games in a single postseason.
The 1,455 receiving yards Chase had in the regular season are the most by any player in Bengals franchise history (passing Johnson's 1,440 yards in 2007) and was the most by any rookie in the Super Bowl era. Only Bill Groman in 1960 had more receiving yards in his rookie season (1,473). His 13 receiving touchdowns trailed only Randy Moss (17 in 1998) for the most in a player's rookie season in NFL history. His 266 yards in a Week 17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs were the most in a game by a rookie in league history.
Chase also had eight receiving touchdowns of 30-plus yards, the most by any player since Jordy Nelson in 2011 and double the amount of the four players tied for second on the list this year. Only Moss (nine in 2000) had more touchdowns of 30-plus yards in a season this century.
Johnson had 751 catches for 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns in his 10 seasons with the Bengals, all the most in franchise history. He's certain Chase will break all those marks.
"When you watch him play, he's so smooth. he's effortless. It's hard to put it into words," Johnson said. "There's just a certain smoothness and calmness about him, just like his quarterback. I don't know if they picked that up at LSU where they play full speed, but they seem so relaxed. It's enjoyable to watch."