FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A contrite Chad Johnson apologized Monday for disrespecting a judge when the former NFL star slapped his attorney on the backside in court last week and was released from jail after only a week instead of 30 days.
Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh accepted Johnson’s apology and cut back his jail term for a probation violation to the seven days he had already served since the rear-swatting. Johnson, a flamboyant receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, said in court that he’d had time to think about why his flippant attitude was wrong — especially in a domestic violence case.
“I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time,” said Johnson, wearing a tan jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled at the waist. “I apologize. I did have time to reflect on the mistakes I made in this courtroom.”
Johnson walked out of jail shortly after 3 p.m. and was met by his attorney, Adam Swickle, and sports agent Drew Rosenhaus. Johnson told reporters he was thankful to McHugh because she was the first person to get him to slow down and think about the path his life was taking.
“No one has been able to do it. Not even my parents,” he said. “I thank her. Everything she did was justified.”
Asked if he hoped to latch on with an NFL team, Johnson said, “I just have to say my next move, my best move.”
TEAM to star in ‘Hard Knocks’ AGAIN: The Cincinnati Bengals will star in the training camp documentary show “Hard Knocks” for the second time in five NFL seasons.
HBO announced Monday that the Bengals would be featured in the popular series, which premieres Aug. 6. Cincinnati last appeared on it in 2009. The Miami Dolphins were last season’s team.
The Bengals no longer have receiver Chad Johnson — then Ochocinco — as a TV attraction. Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was recently charged with assault, the latest in his string of legal troubles.
Cincinnati went on to win the AFC North in 2009.
The eighth season of “Hard Knocks” will air five episodes on Tuesday nights through Sept. 3.
Football Writers honor Pagano: Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano won the George Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers Association for overcoming adversity.
Early in his first season as Colts coach, Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and took a leave of absence. The team began winning under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians while Pagano underwent treatment for 12 weeks. Pagano worked from his hospital bed on game plans and analyzing practices even as he was recovering from the disease.
After a Week 9 victory against Miami that he attended, Pagano gave an emotional postgame speech to the team. Indianapolis kept on winning and he returned to coach the final regular-season game, a victory over Houston that gave the Colts an 11-5 record.
The team began a CHUCKSTRONG campaign, with proceeds going toward leukemia research.
Driver says he’ll be ready if needed: In Appleton, Wis., Donald Driver will be ready to go if the Green Bay Packers call and say they needed his help.
Other NFL teams, however, needn’t bother.
Green Bay’s all-time leading receiver announced his retirement Jan. 31 after 14 years in the NFL — all with the Packers. Driver says he still loves the game, but he promised Packers fans he’d never play for another team.
“At the end of the day, if I get that itch, it would only be for the green and gold,” he said. “If the Packers called me and said, ‘Drive, come back to training camp,’ I’d be back for training camp. But until then, I’ll be sitting at home and just watching football.”
He added: “I think the thing for me is if the Packers call midseason, I’d be in shape. I’ve been staying in shape.”
Driver was back in Wisconsin over the weekend. On Saturday, a street in downtown Green Bay was renamed “Donald Driver Way” and a statue in his likeness was unveiled. On Sunday, he held his annual charity softball game in Appleton, an event he plans to continue in retirement.