Episode two of HBO’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins” aired tonight and the moment that everyone anxiously anticipated was the footage of wide receiver Chad Johnson getting released from the team following his arrest for domestic assault this past Saturday.
You probably already know the story by now, but Johnson was arrested for allegedly headbutting his soon-to-be ex-wife, Evelyn Lozada, after (allegedly) finding a receipt for a box of condoms she had purchased. Just one day later, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin called Johnson into his office and released him from the team.
The result was one of the most compelling scenes in the history of HBO’s brilliant NFL documentary franchise. It’s almost surreal to be able to witness one of these conversations take place instead of it happening behind closed doors.
Notice how gently Philbin lets Johnson down, never once actually saying “I’m cutting you” or “you’re gone” but rather telling Johnson that he’s a good person and “I think it’s best for both of us that we kinda part ways at this point in time.”
Personally, despite the arrest and the terrible season he had last year for my Patriots, I still find myself trying to like Chad Johnson because of his unique personality. His demise over the past few years has been pretty sad, and I found that watching what could potentially have been the unceremonious conclusion to his NFL career was exponentially more sad. For some reason, I feel bad for the guy…even though I know I really shouldn’t.
And for what it’s worth, I think Philbin absolutely made the right decision by cutting 85. Keeping him likely wouldn’t have been worth the distractions he was causing and Philbin, a first year coach in Miami, would have looked like a fool keeping Chad after the lecture he gave him on responsibility and being a good representative of the organization in episode one of Hard Knocks.[Thanks to Awful Announcing for the video]