Day one of Ochocinco’s Sporting KC trial: ‘I’d play for free’

24 Mar

Upon arrival in Kansas City on Tuesday for his four-day media frenzy/super serious MLS trial, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocino tweeted, “Headed to bed with a (humble pie) in the oven on low tempature,to be able to grace the pitch with elite futbol athletes is #Epic goodnight.” And after his first training session on Wednesday, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said the uncharacteristic trepidation implied in that message was evident when he first stepped on the practice pitch (via the AP):

“He was a little bit hesitant early on, a little bit tentative,” said Vermes. “But I think now he’s got a good feel for what a day goes like for us. You can see he’s very coachable. I wouldn’t try to make any determinations at this point.”

That hasn’t stopped the hordes of onlookers from trying to make snap judgments, though. There were 40 members of the media on hand for the session (four times the normal amount) and the club streamed the whole thing live on the internet at Many viewers were quick to condemn his sub-par technical skills, though his speed is undeniable.

Calling Ochocinco “very coachable” probably isn’t something his Cincinnati Bengals head coach, Marvin Lewis, would agree with, though. When asked about Chad’s Sporting KC trial, Lewis said, “What has he ever done that he’s completed? What circle has he ever connected in any way?”

So what did Ochocinco, who hasn’t played this version of football competitively since the 10th grade, think of his first day?

“Exactly what I expected,” said the six-time Pro Bowler. “I would be a little winded being that I haven’t ran at this pace or this level since the end of our season of football. It was fun. I didn’t expect to come in here and be Superman.”

Ochocinco plans to go through with the four-day tryout, and, if possible, join the team.

“I would play for free,” he said.

And by the lockout-inducing NFL standards, he might see MLS wages as just that — playing for free.

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