INDIANAPOLIS -- The small amount of AFC North storylines in this Super Bowl could dwindle if former Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco doesn't even suit up.
Ochocinco, who had a disappointing 15 receptions for the New England Patriots this season, was inactive for the AFC Championship Game after sitting once in the regular season. The ankle injury to Rob Gronkowski could increase Ochocinco's chances of playing in the first Super Bowl of his 11-year career.
As ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss pointed out, the Patriots don't have a backup tight end. When Gronkowski injured his ankle on a tackle by the Ravens' Bernard Pollard in the AFC Championship Game, New England subbed in wide receiver Julian Edelman to take his place.
Even if Gronkowski plays, there's no guarantee that he will last the entire game. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney once suffered a high ankle sprain in the playoffs and only played effectively for the first half.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick will want some added depth for the passing game, which could work in Ochocinco's favor. If Gronkowski is out or limited, the Patriots will go with more three-receiver sets.
Asked at the Super Bowl whether Gronkowski's injury affects his status, Ochocinco said, “I don’t know. I haven’t seen the script.”
If the script does include him, Ochocinco might revert back to his flair for the dramatic. During Ochocinco's career in Cincinnati, he was known for creative touchdown celebrations. He's performed the Riverdance, used a pylon to "put" the football and even proposed to a Bengals cheerleader.
Does he have one planned for the Super Bowl?
"I’ve been kind of quiet on the celebrations and the production this year, so if I score this Sunday I might do something," said Ochocinco, who has one touchdown this season. "It’s the biggest stage.”