DAVIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Chad Johnson was barely a factor in last season’s AFC East race while with the New England Patriots.
This year, Rex Ryan and the Jets won’t have to worry about defending the once-feared wide receiver, who was hoping to resurrect his career in Miami.
The Dolphins terminated the six-time Pro Bowl receiver’s contract about 24 hours after he was arrested in a domestic battery case involving his wife.
Johnson was released from jail on $2,500 bond earlier Sunday after his wife accused him of head-butting her during an argument in front of their home. Johnson was charged with simple domestic battery, a misdemeanor.
The confrontation came barely a month after Johnson married Evelyn Lozada, who is on the reality TV show “Basketball Wives.” The 34-year-old Johnson had been battling for a spot on the team after a disappointing season with the New England Patriots in 2011.
Following Sunday’s practice, coach Joe Philbin said he would meet soon with Johnson.
“We’re going to deal with this,” Philbin said before Johnson was released. “We’re not going to waste time. … We’re all in this thing together. Everybody that sets foot in this building, we’re all held to a high standard.”
Only five days earlier, Philbin said Johnson’s roster spot could be in jeopardy if he didn’t temper his freewheeling behavior. Johnson annoyed the coach by frequently using profanity during a session with reporters.
Johnson’s defense attorney, Adam Swickle, said an order has been issued that prevents Johnson from contacting Lozada. Swickle declined to comment further.
Johnson – who recently changed his name from Chad Ochocinco – was arrested Saturday after Lozada confronted him about a receipt she found for a box of condoms, police said. According to an arrest affidavit, Lozada said she was taking groceries into their home when she found the receipt in the car trunk.
When the two were seated back in the car, they began talking about the receipt and their marriage. That’s when Johnson got upset and head-butted his wife, the report said.
Lozada ran to a neighbor’s house and called police. A responding officer said Lozada had a 3-inch cut on her forehead, according to the affidavit, while Johnson did not have any visible marks or bruises. When questioned by police, he confirmed there was an argument over the receipt, but said his wife had head-butted him.
Even before his arrest, Johnson was battling to salvage his career. He was released by the Patriots after totaling only 15 receptions last season. He dropped the lone pass thrown his way Friday night in the Dolphins’ first exhibition game.
News of the arrest spread quickly Saturday, an off day for the team.
“I was shocked,” tight end Charles Clay said. “Of course, you don’t want things like that to happen.”
Johnson has long been known for outlandish antics that annoyed his teammates as well as coaches. Philbin, a first-year head coach, talked with his players about Johnson’s arrest before the player was released.
“I reminded them that on April 10 in our first team meetings, I said, `Guys, I’d love to stand up here and tell you we’re never going to have a problem here in Miami,'” Philbin said. “Do we want high-character guys? Yes. All 31 other coaches are going to say the same thing. But I specifically told them on April 10 that there will be problems that arise and you have to deal with them honestly and openly and directly. You’ve got to learn from mistakes and move on, and you can’t hide from the problem.”
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He could also receive community service, probation or anger management classes.
Johnson was known as Ochocinco for the past four seasons but changed his name back to Johnson after his July 4 wedding. The name was a playful reference to his uniform No. 85.
Johnson and Lozada were prominent in the recent first episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins.”
VH1’s “Basketball Wives” is filmed in Miami and also features Shaunie O’Neal, the former wife of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Lozada is the former fiancee of NBA player Antoine Walker.
Did you think Johnson was primed for a big comeback year? Be heard in the comments below…
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)