|ESPN.com: New England Patriots||[Print without images]|
The reduction was an egoless gesture by Ochocinco, showing his commitment to Belichick and the Patriots after his disappointing 2011 season (15 catches). Give Ochocinco credit for that. He had said all along that he was thrilled to be in New England after 10 years with the Bengals because all he wanted to do was win. His latest actions back the words.
The easier route would have been to back out after a year and accept it as an experiment gone bad, but instead he gave back $2 million to ensure another shot to prove himself. It's hard not to respect a humbled player who takes that approach.
As for Belichick, he's cut more productive players than Ochocinco in the past, so why give him a second chance?
Perhaps it goes back to that connection, or maybe Belichick simply sees some type of hope that Ochocinco -- with the benefit of a full offseason in the team's program to assimilate to the offense -- could become closer to the difference-maker he envisioned he'd be when initially acquiring him.