FOXBOROUGH – Chad Ochocinco is changing his ways. And he’s not making any apologies for it.
To those Twitter followers who claim that the Patriots wide receiver has toned down his activity, Ochocinco has a clear response.
“You have to do it the Patriot Way, the way things are always done here,” Ochocinco said after Tuesday’s practice at Gillette Stadium. “One thing about this city, man, and their sports, all they do is win. So that stuff that I did in the past, there’s no need for it.”
As he prepares for his first game in a Patriots uniform, Thursday’s preseason opener against the Jaguars, Ochocinco likes the progress he’s made since being acquired from the Bengals on July 29.
“The transition in heaven has been pretty good. It’s been fun,” said Ochocinco, a six-time Pro Bowl selection with Cincinnati. “Surprisingly, I’ve caught on to so much material in such a short period of time. That’s it. It’s been very good.”
Ochocinco credited quarterback Tom Brady and fellow receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker for his smooth assimilation.
Said Ochocinco, “They’ve probably made it the easiest, with so much verbiage as far as signals and other things in the offense that’s hard for me to get, that Wes and Deion have been able to somewhat catch me up to speed on. I think with those two, including Tom, they have sped up the process to where I think that even with a game being played very soon, I could probably go out there and play at full speed without having to think.”
Asked how much he plans to play on Thursday, Ochocinco said, “I have no idea. I’m not sure how that works.”
What Ochocinco does know is that a preseason game offers only so much opportunity for improvement. Practice, he said, presents far more chances to learn the offense.
“I think what’s important for me is practice out here,” Ochocinco said. “The better I am out here, the easier it will be for me on Sundays. The preseason is important to a certain extent, but I think most of my quality work comes out here on the field with these guys.”
One of those guys, Brady, has lived up to Ochocinco’s expectations of the reigning NFL MVP.
“Really cool, really cool,” Ochocinco said of working with Brady. “Tom is a special individual, as we all know. I’ve been a fan of his for so many years. To be able to play with him, words can’t really describe that.”
Off the field, Ochocinco’s transition remains a work in progress. He said he got lost driving for more than an hour this past weekend and that he’s caught flak for his Toyota Prius.
“I’m not sure what that’s all about,” Ochocinco said. “Other than that, the people have been great.”
Ochocinco got to meet some of those people while attending Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway Park, an experience he called “cool.”
It appears that one individual will have a chance to get to know Ochocinco quite well this season. While searching for a home in the area, he plans on living with a not-yet-selected fan for the first two or three weeks of the regular season.
Any requirements for the potential roommate?
“They have to have Internet and they have to have Xbox,” Ochocinco said. “That’s about it.”