Recently married to the ex-wife of former NBA all-star Antoine Walker, Johnson said the sharing of nuptials with Evelyn Lozada also prompted him to legally go back to Johnson. He changed his name on his popular Twitter account weeks ago, not long after signing with the Dolphins.
“I’m refocused and locked in,” he said to espn.com. “Time to get back to the old me. I’m just doing it for the marriage. It has nothing to do with football. Ochocinco is still in me. It’s just my middle name.”
The 34-year-old wideout has made mention of dropping the “Ochocinco” moniker several times in the past, including during a January 2011 appearance on ESPN’s “NFL Live.” He also said before a regular-season game in January 2010 that he would change his name back to Johnson if Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. After tweaking his knee in pregame warm-ups, he was held to zero catches for zero yards in the game. When the teams met again a week later in the playoffs, he had just two catches for 28 yards.
But he kept his name and later said the comments were made in fun and he was never serious about a name change.
It was before the 2008 season when he originally changed his legal surname from Johnson to Ochocinco.
Johnson originally gave himself the Ocho moniker in 2006 as an allusion to his No. 85.
Johnson was a six-time Pro Bowler for the Cincinnati Bengals and averaged nearly 80 receptions for seven seasons. Ochocinco never lived up to those expectations following the name change, averaging just 51.75 receptions in four seasons, including a career-low 15 for the New England Patriots in 2011.
Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins in June after being cut by New England. Maybe the “refocused” player will show some semblance of the former Pro Bowler.