Television departures are always sad affairs and Chad Johnson's HBO Hard Knocks departure was the quickest since Six Feet Under killed off Nate Fisher Sr. in the pilot's opening scene. Johnson may have lost their own reality show but his final appearance on Hard Knocks Tuesday night as head coach Joe Philbin laid out the reasons for his decision to cut Johnson was the quintessential definition of dramatic.
It was also a cruel irony for a receiver that has craved the spotlight since his emergence as an impact receiver. It only took two episodes but there were events that foreshadowed Johnson's run with the Dolphins coming to a premature close.
Johnson quickly got on Philbin's bad side after bursting into a coaches meeting unannounced and later for his language during a profanity-laced press conference.
Before cutting Johnson, Philbin also noted the 34-year-old receiver's inability to grasp the Dolphins offense, which was the knock on him last season in New England.
His variety show act was allowed to flourish during Marvin Lewis' tenure as head coach of the bungling Cincinnati Bengals but it was never going to fly with a competent coaching staff.
The Ocho Cinco caricature became so ingrained in Johnson's psyche that he couldn't operate in New England's all-business atmosphere.
The Dolphins learned from their Brandon Marshall ordeal. The organization gave Marshall's multiple personalities two seasons to poison the Dolphins locker room. Johnson and Ocho Cinco were ditched two months.
What's adds to the heartbreaking factor for Johnson is that he was cut by his hometown team. The NFL's South Beach franchise was a perfect match for Johnson. There's a stadium nightclub and the co-owners include Jennifer Lopez and the Williams sisters.
What began as a heartwarming homecoming quickly devolved into a
Johnson lives his life in the public. Even his tweets have become tabloid fodder.
Just last month, Johnson buying plane tickets for grieving widow, Cheryl Minton via Twitter to attend his wedding in hopes of lifting her spirits was the topic of every gossip website. In June, Minton lost her husband of 30 years. Johnson's wife left him after six weeks.
Johnson has always been more TerezOwens.com than Terrell Owens.
39-year old Terrell Owens is older, coming off a knee injury and more controversial than Johnson but even ESPN analyst Skip Bayless, who refers to Owens as Team Obliterator agrees that his football I.Q. and work ethic compensates for his hostile locker room attitude.
"The great Bill Walsh once told me that Terrell Owens has as high a football I.Q. as a receiver, as any player he ever tutored or coached in the film room." Bayless opined on ESPN's First Take recently.
Obviously, Robin (Johnson) didn't take advantage of Batman's (Owens) football tutelage during the season they spent together in Cincinnati.
With Johnson out of the picture in Miami, new characters/football players will have the opportunity to step up and make a name for themselves during the preseason on Hard Knocks.
One of those up-and-comers may be former Penn State lacrosse player and current third-team receiver Chris Hogan, who spent last season on the Dolphins practice squad but was praised during the second episode of Hard Knocks.
Unlike Johnson, Philbin, Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill all complimented the 23-year-old wideout on his remarkable ability to get open. Bush reverted to calling Hogan "7-11" because the receiver was "open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
Meanwhile, Johnson's skills and NFL opportunities are drying up faster than a lost hiker's water canteen in the Mojave Desert.
In 2007, Johnson famously donned a golden jacket that read "Future H.o.F 20??" after scoring a touchdown on Monday Night Football. The next week he caught 11 passes for 209 yards. Canton was I his sights but the sky was the limit for Johnson at that point. Unfortunately, five years later it's unlikely he'll be a Hall of Famer based on his recent production. At the age of 34, there's uncertainty as to whether he'll even catch another regular season pass again.