Dolphins cut WR Chad Johnson
The six-time Pro Bowl receiver was released from jail on $2,500 bond earlier Sunday after his wife accused him of head-butting her during an argument in front of their home. Johnson was charged with simple domestic battery, a misdemeanor.
The confrontation came barely a month after Johnson married Evelyn Lozada, who is on the reality TV show "Basketball Wives." The 34-year-old Johnson had been battling for a spot on the team after a disappointing season with the New England Patriots in 2011.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin addressed Johnson's release in a news conference Monday.
"With any type of these decisions, it was not an easy one," Philbin said. "It was not reactive nor was it based on one single incident."
He said Johnson's release was mostly about how the receiver didn't "fit" with the Dolphins.
"Again, it was more a body of evidence from June 11th forward. When he came in on June 11th, we sat down and we talked and I was very clear as to the expectations of the program. It just didn't work out," he said. "It's more about the fit; in my gut I didn't think the fit was going to be beneficial to either party moving forward, whether in the short-term or the long-term. That's really what it was all about. It wasn't about one specific thing; it just wasn't going to work."
Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby voiced his displeasure at Johnson's release in an interview with a South Florida radio station Monday.
"I hate that we didn't stand behind him," Dansby told WMEN-AM on Monday. "I know the guys in the locker room would. But the organization felt a totally different way about the situation, and they probably had more information than we know. And they had to do what they had to do."
Dansby said that by releasing Johnson, the Dolphins created a bigger distraction than what would have occurred if the receiver was still a member of the team.
"It's going to be an even bigger distraction right now, I think, because of the simple fact we let him go," Dansby told the radio station. "I think if we were going to be with the guy, if he was going to be our guy, we have to stand behind him -- even though the situation came about. He didn't get that third strike."
Philbin, asked about Dansby's comments, said he believes the linebacker should have kept his concerns "in house."
"I believe this: let's be honest, you have a boss, I have a boss. I don't always agree with what the boss says every time. I'm of the opinion that you should keep things in house in that regard," he said.
Only five days earlier, Philbin said Johnson's roster spot could be in jeopardy if he didn't temper his freewheeling behavior. Johnson annoyed the coach by frequently using profanity during a session with reporters.
Johnson's defense attorney, Adam Swickle, said an order has been issued that prevents Johnson from contacting Lozada. Swickle declined to comment further.
Johnson -- who recently changed his name from Chad Ochocinco -- was arrested Saturday after Lozada confronted him about a receipt she found for a box of condoms, police said. According to an arrest affidavit, Lozada said she was taking groceries into their home when she found the receipt in the car trunk.
When the two were seated back in the car, they began talking about the receipt and their marriage. That's when Johnson got upset and head-butted his wife, the report said.
Lozada ran to a neighbor's house and called police. A responding officer said Lozada had a 3-inch cut on her forehead, according to the affidavit, while Johnson did not have any visible marks or bruises. When questioned by police, he confirmed there was an argument over the receipt, but said his wife had head-butted him.
Even before his arrest, Johnson was battling to salvage his career. He was released by the Patriots after totaling only 15 receptions last season. He dropped the lone pass thrown his way Friday night in the Dolphins' first exhibition game.
News of the arrest spread quickly Saturday, an off-day for the team.
"I was shocked," tight end Charles Clay said. "Of course, you don't want things like that to happen."
Johnson has long been known for outlandish antics that annoyed his teammates as well as coaches. Philbin, a first-year head coach, talked with his players about Johnson's arrest before the player was released.
"I reminded them that on April 10 in our first team meetings, I said, 'Guys, I'd love to stand up here and tell you we're never going to have a problem here in Miami,' " Philbin said. "Do we want high-character guys? Yes. All 31 other coaches are going to say the same thing. But I specifically told them on April 10 that there will be problems that arise and you have to deal with them honestly and openly and directly. You've got to learn from mistakes and move on, and you can't hide from the problem."
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He also could receive community service, probation or anger management classes.
Johnson was known as Ochocinco for the past four seasons but changed his name back to Johnson after his July 4 wedding. The name was a playful reference to his uniform No. 85.
Johnson and Lozada were prominent in the recent first episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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