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Chad Johnson Quits Bengals to Pursue Solo Career


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(AP) - Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson stunned his fellow Bengals this morning by announcing he is leaving them to start up a solo career.

“I had a good run with the Bengals, we had some success, but I’m ready to spread my wings and show I can be a star out on my own,” said Johnson. “These guys have been holding me back.”

Johnson said he intends to be the first single player to compete in the NFL and will begin accepting any an all teams to take him on to complete his 2008 schedule.

“Colts, you want a piece? Bears, you want to go? Chad Johnson will take you down all by himself,” said Johnson. “I don’t have to drag along any dead weight anymore. I’ll throw the ball up to myself, catch it and run it in every time. And defense? Don’t even try to pass the ball against me. I’ll intercept every one and take it to the house. I’ll score 85 points on you all by myself. Colts 0, Chad Johnson 85. Ocho-cinco, baby.”

Johnson has been growing increasingly upset in recent weeks with his role on the Bengals, and after Sunday’s loss to the Steelers loudly complained about not getting enough balls thrown his way. That statement turned out to be his last as a member of the Bengals.

“I decided that my greatness does not deserve to be stifled any longer by jealous people or people who somehow fail to recognize it,” said Johnson. “So the only option was to begin a solo career. And I can guarantee you this: your 2006 Super Bowl XLI champion will be Chad Johnson.”

Many of Cincinnati’s players say they aren’t surprised by Johnson’s decision to go solo.

“I’ve seen this coming for a while,” said quarterback Carson Palmer. “We’d watch film and he’d comment the whole time about how the camera was focusing on me instead of him, or how if he was throwing himself passes he’d have a lot more catches. I’ll miss him being part of the Bengals, but I wish him the best.”

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says he tried to give Johnson a more prominent role on the team, but it just didn’t work out.

“We didn’t want to lose him – he sells a lot of tickets for us and keeps us in the news – so we tried to give him a bigger slice of the pie,” said Lewis. “But he wasn’t ready for it. He wasn’t catching passes, wasn’t getting open. It was a disaster.”

So with Johnson no longer a prominent face on the Bengals, Lewis says the team will just pick up and move on into a new era.

“We can exist with Chad Johnson and we will,” said Lewis. “We’ll just become more of a true group instead of a team with one very visible component. Hey, Van Halen moved on without David Lee Roth and put out some great albums, and so did Genesis without Peter Gabriel, so I don’t see why we can’t … oh, God, did I just basically admit I listen to Van Halen and Genesis?”

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