After spending Thursday trying to trade wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, the New England Patriots decided to release him.
Ochocinco took to Twitter on Thursday to thank Patriots fans.
“Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the “Patriot” organization… fans were f—— wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best…,” Ochocinco tweeted.
The Patriots pushed trade conversations with other teams up to near the end of the day’s transaction deadline at 4 p.m. But despite conversations with other teams, there was not enough interest to make a deal.
Ochocinco’s biggest issue in New England was not his ability; it had more to do with his ability to pick up the Patriots playbook, which the veteran wide receiver struggled to do.
Earlier Thursday, there had been speculation that this was Ochocinco’s last day with the Patriots because the wide receiver left the training facility before the team’s OTA.
However, Ochocinco said later in the day he had not been released and simply was attending an eye doctor’s appointment.
The 34-year-old caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown in his only season with the Patriots after being acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals last July.
Ochocinco, who was paid almost $6 million last season, earlier this year agreed to restructure his contract for 2012. He lowered his base salary to $925,000 from the $3 million he had been scheduled to earn, thus ensuring himself a roster spot — for the short term.
The Patriots added many new faces at the receiver position this offseason, agreeing to deals with Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte’ Stallworth and Anthony Gonzalez (who has since been released). Deion Branch also agreed to a one-year deal to return and Wes Welker received the team’s franchise tag.
Those additions pushed Ochocinco far enough down the depth chart that his release Thursday does not come as a surprise to most observers.
Source: Adam Schefter, ESPN Boston.