It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. This has been a strange off-season for Chad Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals and all Bengals fans.
Johnson, the Pro Bowl receiver who has been among the top receivers in the NFL for the past four seasons, ended the 2007 season with strong words of criticism for Bengals management, Coach Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati media.
He insisted he would never play another down in a Bengals uniform. He demanded a trade. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made it clear his client would accept nothing less than a complete separation from Cincinnati.
Problem was, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals didn't blink.
Coach Lewis went on the record time after time and reiterated the team's position that if Chad Johnson plays football in 2008, it will be for Cincinnati. He repeated that mantra even as Johnson made the radio rounds and plead his case for ESPN over and over.
All the media personalities practically begged the Bengals to give Johnson what he wanted--for the good of the team. As the draft approached and the Redskins offered draft picks for Johnson's services, all the pundits remained convinced the Bengals would part company with Johnson.
The draft came and went.
By early June, as rookie receivers were hard at work with Carson Palmer, and be all accounts impressing the Bengals coaching staff, Chad Johnson conceded he wasn't getting his trade and that he wasn't stupid.
He was reporting to training camp and playing the 2008 season with the Bengals under the same terms and conditions of his current contract.
I'm with Chad: let's call this one a draw.