Chad Johnson: 'Learned my lesson'
Chad Johnson said Tuesday in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that spending seven days in jail has made an impact on him and he hopes he can still get another chance to play in the NFL.
The 35-year-old former NFL wide receiver was released from jail on Monday after apologizing to Broward County Judge Kathleen McHugh for slapping his attorney on the backside in court last week. McHugh had sentenced Johnson to 30 days in jail, rejecting his plea agreement for a probation violation after he tapped attorney Adam Swickle on the rear, prompting the courtroom to erupt in laughter.
"I've learned my lesson, especially over those past seven days," he said. "I think everyone deserves a second chance. Many would say I might not deserve it. I would like to finish my career off the right way."
McHugh noted that in a previous hearing, Johnson put his arm around a female prosecutor's shoulders, prompting her to tell him twice not to touch her. The judge also pointed out that when Johnson head-butted his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada of the reality TV show "Basketball Wives," she suffered a three-inch gash on her head that required eight stitches. The judge called those injuries horrific.
Johnson maintains that he wasn't trying to disrespect the courtroom last week and when McHugh spotted him tapping his attorney on the rear it was the third time he had done so that day. He said it was "the way I've always interacted throughout life, just in general."
"I think that Judge McHugh was able to get me do something many people have tried to get me to do for a long time: slow down, just at life in general," Johnson said. "She was able to get me to do that, maybe not in the best circumstances for those on the outside but I see being able to sit down and think about life and where I'm going from this point was probably on one of the best things that could happen to me right now."
McHugh ordered Johnson to perform 25 hours of community service and attend domestic violence counseling sessions twice a week during probation, and she extended his probation an extra three months through mid-October.
"I think with me being Chad it kind of made the judge feel that I wasn't being serious about the situation but, trust me, I understood exactly what I did," Johnson said. "I lost two of the things in life that I love the most at the time. Football and my now beautiful, I did say beautiful, ex-wife."
Swickle said Johnson will fully comply with all probation conditions and hopes to resurrect his NFL career. The six-time Pro Bowler was cut by the Miami Dolphins after his arrest for battery; he played most of his 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals along with one year with the New England Patriots.
"I don't want the last thing to be remembered you know, well, Chad was cut from the Dolphins for an incident he had with his wife," Johnson said. "I would love to grace the football field one more time and to help some team. I'm not injured. There's nothing wrong with me."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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