Ochocinco says he can change to Patriots' way

July 30, 2011 - 2:59 PM
Patriots Camp Football

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass in the shadow of Gillette Stadium during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass. Saturday, July 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Chad Ochocinco promised to tone down his antics now that he's in New England, where coach Bill Belichick likes his players to be seen and rarely heard.

That lasted all of five minutes.

After calling himself a chameleon who can "blend in and do it the Patriot way," Ochocinco riffed on riding the wave and soaring with his angel wings. Then, by way of introduction to the crush of media surrounding him for his first availability in New England, he asked for a group hug.

"It is going to be a little quiet. You won't get the same Chad you are used to, and I probably won't be talking to the media much, probably not at all, really. I just want to play ball and ride the wave," he said after practice on Saturday.

"I will always be me. It has been a part of my game to always be me, but there is a certain way the Patriots do it. It's easy for me. I've always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win. We had our talk, and without him (Belichick) even having to saying anything — there is no need for some of the stuff I did before. There's no need for it."

The Patriots were among the biggest newsmakers in the league coming out of the lockout, agreeing to trades for Ochocinco and Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth shortly after the NFL reopened for business.

What's most unusual: Neither player is what's thought of as the usual type for Belichick, who prefers the quiet and businesslike to the guys who make headlines off the field.

"I think every player on this team, every person on this team, has their own individual personality," Belichick said. "None us are the same, so that's probably a good thing."

Ochocinco, who was originally Chad Johnson, has caught 751 passes for 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns in his 10-year career. But he is perhaps better known for his touchdown celebrations, for changing his legal name to the Spanish words for 8 and 5 to match his uniform number, and for his prolific tweeting — almost 30,000 messages to more than 2.4 million Twitter followers.

Belichick is not among them.

"That's not something I follow, as you know," he said, cracking a smile. "I don't Twitter, I don't MyFace, I don't do any of those things, so I'd probably be the last to know."

So far, the biggest complication in Ochocinco's arrival in New England had been tight end Aaron Hernandez owning No. 85. Ochocinco said he didn't have to pay him anything for the No. 85. (Hernandez switched to No. 81.)

"This was Mr. Hernandez's way of greeting me here. He gave me the number and I didn't have to pay anything, I just shook his hand and I said, 'Thank you,'" Ochocinco said. "I drive a Toyota Prius, so I was going to let him use my Prius on the weekends, and that's about the best I can do right now. I have some left over McDonald's coupons since I don't eat there anymore."

A two-time Pro Bowl selection in Tennessee, Haynesworth's talent was completely overshadowed in Washington by his legal problems and his feud with coach Mike Shanahan that ended with Thursday's trade to the Patriots for a 2013 fifth-round draft pick.

"They've both been very productive in the league, as we all know," Belichick said. "Look, there's no formula. All the trades we've been involved in through the years — the Ted Washingtons and the Corey Dillons and the Randy Mosses and all — each one is different. There're always different dynamics that go into it. In the end, you just try to do what's best for your football team."

Haynesworth, who repeatedly failed his conditioning test in Washington, did not practice on Saturday morning. Belichick would not say why.

"There are things we still need to do with Albert for him to be able get on the practice field and when those things are done, he'll be out there," the coach said.

Asked whether he thought football was important to Haynesworth, Belichick said, "Of course, otherwise I don't think he would be playing football. But those are questions you can ask him. I don't want to speak for him."

Also Saturday, the Patriots announced they have re-signed offensive lineman Logan Mankins, who had been designated as the franchise player, running backs Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris, defensive back Kyle Arrington and defensive lineman Steve Williams. On Friday the team released six veterans, including defensive end Ty Warren, offensive tackle Nick Kaczur, tight end Alge Crumpler and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.

"Those kinds of things are tough," Belichick said. "Unfortunately, that's part of what we do. We just had to move on."