All Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson wanted was to get some breakfast. He’d flown all the way to Las Vegas for an opportunity to be around the best players in the NFL today, and all he wanted was to congratulate a few of the guys who’d earned the Pro Bowl title this season and perhaps treat them to a nice meal at the International House of Pancakes.
Johnson’s day, like many of ours, started off optimistic. Johnson sent out this tweet.
What a nice, innocent tweet, surely nothing will go wrong.
A few minutes passed and none of the Pro Bowlers had responded. In a move of desperation, Johnson started tweeting at specific players hoping they were still asleep and missed the original tweet. Johnson reached out to All-Pro corner Trevon Diggs: “@TrevonDiggs Yooooo, wake up, let’s go to iHop real quick?” No response. Johnson then turned his attention to 49ers’ utility man Deebo Samuel: “@19problemz Wake up, let’s go to iHop?” Crickets.
Ochocinco started to notice a trend. Everybody he reached out to would decline and offer the same reasoning. They didn’t want to come out with the six-time Pro Bowler because it was too early. Johnson knew better though. These guys had been waking up at 6 a.m. for team meetings every day during the season, but now, only now are they too tired to go out and get free pancakes with one of the greatest receivers of the 2000s. Johnson understood what “it’s too early” meant.
Johnson would not get any texts, and ended up going to iHop by his lonesome.
You can just sense the sadness in this tweet. That emoji at the end says it all. Heartbreaking.
Johnson is someone who put his heart and soul into the game he loved. When he played, there was no one who loved the game more than him. He just enjoyed being able to play ball and dominate opposing defenses. He wanted an opportunity to meet some of the most exciting players in the game today and not only give them some friendly advice on how to improve their play, but treat them to a nice warm breakfast. Neither happened though. Johnson was betrayed by his NFL brethren, and the saddest part? Even a day later, while many players were kind enough to offer an excuse to Johnson for why they couldn’t go, several others didn’t text Johnson back at all.
Johnson didn’t stay in town for the Pro Bowl. He flew to Houston the following morning. Maybe he just didn’t want to see the same players that stood him up. I’d understand that response. If they aren’t going to give you the light of day, why do they deserve your time?
Although Johnson’s NFL career ended nearly a decade ago, he’s maintained relevance in today’s NFL through his hilarious antics on social media, podcasts, and during workouts. He’s also made a name for himself as one of Madden’s premiere ratings adjusters. He’s been the focal point of several Madden videos explaining how the ratings system works and how the team works to adjust ratings midseason.
While he’s not in the Hall of Fame, there was definitely an argument for him when he became eligible. Many of the players in this year’s Pro Bowl are not close to Johnson’s career accolades yet. So, if they didn’t want to meet up with him, that’s their loss. He needs to keep his head up and know his worth. I’m sure there are many Bengals’ fans and players who would’ve loved to meet up with Johnson for breakfast… if only they weren’t playing in the Super Bowl.