Chad Johnson has spent the majority of his NFL career looking for the cameras. He did it again in Tuesday's episode of "Hard Knocks," but for far different reasons.
Episode 2 of the HBO documentary series concluded with Johnson's final meeting with Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. Johnson probably hoped the guillotine would fall in private, but his darting eyes found the cameras installed in Philbin's office.
The lowest moment of Johnson's NFL career would be captured on tape forever.
Philbin let Johnson speak first, and the glassy-eyed receiver apologized for his actions. Then, Philbin delivered the bad news.
"Where we are as a program and where you are and where we're headed, I just don't see the mesh right now," the coach said. "I wish it was different, I wish I could tell you something more encouraging. But I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time."
Philbin was as uncomfortable as Johnson, nervously tapping his fingers on the arms of his leather chair as he conversed with the receiver. But the coach made himself clear: He's trying to create a certain culture in Miami, and Johnson simply didn't fit.
"Thank you for the opportunity," Johnson said. "There's really not much more I can say at this point. I appreciate it, though. Thank you for the chance."
Cut to Johnson being led down the hallway as team employees clean out his locker. The Dolphins -- and "Hard Knocks" -- move on without their most charismatic star.Some other takeaways from Episode 2:
David Garrard's rough break
Early in the episode, Garrard told an HBO producer, "I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm moving great, so I need to continue to capitalize on my opportunties." What he didn't see -- what he couldn't see -- was the 8,000-pound anvil dangling over his head.
Minutes later, Philbin was being told Garrard felt a "crunch" in his knee while watching his kids in his swimming pool. Next stop: the operating table.
The Nine Lives of Matt Moore
Moore, the No. 2 QB on the Dolphins' depth chart, could barely contain his joy upon learning he'd be the starter in the preseason opener. He didn't even know Garrard was hurt until his teammate came limping into a QB meeting. Moore's reaction was unflattering but completely human, showing just how cutthroat NFL life can be. One man's misfortune is another's salvation.
Mike Sherman is terrifying
The Dolphins' offensive coordinator has a certified Bud Kilmer Mean Streak. His takedown of rookie tight end Michael Egnew was especially devastating: "You were terrible! I will cut you today if I was GM! Get your head out of your ass!"
Seriously, that shook my confidence. I wouldn't have been surprised if Egnew relieved himself right there in the meeting room.
'Chris Hogan, Always Open, 7/11'
Let's keep an eye on Chris Hogan, the undrafted free agent who has earned Reggie Bush's utter fascination with his ability to create separation from cornerbacks. "It's a compliment to me," Hogan said of his training camp nicknames. "I can live with that."
The Roberto Wallace Redemption
Following Johnson's release, the Miami media buzzed about Wallace stepping into a bigger role. That stood in contrast to the disappointment that coaches had early in the episode. "He's running with ankle weights," a coach joked during a film session.
Wallace redeemed himself with a strong preseason opener, pulling in four catches for 71 yards. He did drop a potential touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill, however.
Speaking of the Tannehill family ...
HBO held off 32 whole minutes before Lauren Tannehill made her first appearance in Episode 2. I predict Lauren puts together a Joe DiMaggio-type streak of consistency this season.
Joe Philbin's sad connection
It's easy to respect the Dolphins coach as the season unfolds. The episode opens with Philbin discussing the unexpected death of Andy Reid's son, Garrett. Philbin has a tragic connection with the Eagles coach, having lost his own son under sudden circumstances in January.
A powerful moment that shows the resolve of both Philbin and his family.
And we close with more Chad Johnson
Before Philbin's sitdown with Johnson, Stuart Weinstein, team director of security, explains to the coach his phone conversation with the distraught receiver, who was fearful he was about to be cut.
How ironic is it that Weinstein is the same man Johnson joked with last week, saying he was going to get arrested on the Dolphins' off day.
It took an extra week, but Johnson kept his word.
Until next time ...