Ocho Cinco needs to win

September, 4, 2008
9/04/08
5:45
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Credit Chad Ocho Cinco for staying one step ahead of the NFL.

For the past couple years, he's wanted to wear "Ocho Cinco" on the back of his jersey without penalty and now he can.

The Cincinnati Bengals' Pro Bowl receiver had a legal name change in his home state of Florida last week. On Thursday the NFL and the Bengals recognized the change.

But the Bengals' finish this season will determine whether this stunt is perceived as either silly or sly.

If the team is playoff bound in December, Ocho Cinco will no doubt be one of the talks of the league. If the team finishes 4-12, no one will be laughing unless it's at Ocho Cinco and the entire Bengals organization.

It's really up to Mr. 8-5 and his teammates.

So far Ocho Cinco, who is 30, has just uno winning season during his siete-year career.

He's a tremendous player with tremendous talent. But you start to wonder at this point if he will be remembered more for his ability or his antics. Both are extraordinary.

Last season Ocho Cinco was viewed as a disturbance to his team, which was probably overblown. But when these types of stunts are pulled, right or wrong, it makes him an easy target when things go awry.

There's a fine line between being an attraction and a distraction, and with his flamboyant personality the receiver walks that tightrope everyday with the Bengals.

Winning or losing will ultimately determine which category Chad Ocho Cinco falls into this season.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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