INDIANAPOLIS -- Chad Ochocinco finally got to be on the receiving end of questions at Super Bowl XLVI Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium on Tuesday. The annual event is one he has attended several times as a microphone-toting correspondent for his social media Ochocinco News Network.
Now, the microphones were aimed at him.
"Aw, man, I've dreamed of it," Ochocinco said, wearing his blue No. 85 jersey, blue Super Bowl cap and irrepressible smile. "I've been playing this game a long time -- started out at 4 years old. And this is what you dream of, to come to this stage and enjoy it. So that's what I'm going to do."
Wyche: Big stage, bit player
Chad Ochocinco is hitting the NFL's biggest stage, but only as a bit player. Steve Wyche chronicles Ocho's toughest season. More ...
And he's doing it the New England way.
"This is my podium," Ochocinco said, referring to his small section of artificial turf encircled by reporters and photographers. "If I was up there, you couldn't get to me. You couldn't smell the cologne I have on now."
During the nearly hour-long session, Ochocinco provided hardly a whiff of his old look-at-me ways. After 10 years of commanding the spotlight and losing games in Cincinnati, the social media mogul had to pull off one of his most difficult changes.
He repeatedly bumped egos in Cincinnati with coach Marvin Lewis, who referred to him once as "Ocho Psycho." Ochocinco miffed teammates with his attention-gathering antics -- and his sloppy pass routes -- and got under the skin of opponents by sending them Pepto-Bismol and other gifts. The league repeatedly fined him for his on-field celebrations and refusal to follow its uniform code.
During the NFL lockout last summer, he rode a 1,500-pound bull for 1.5 seconds, tried out for Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City and took a 160 mph spin around the Atlanta Motor Speedway with Jeff Burton.
He felt revived when the Bengals traded him to the Patriots in July, but quickly realized his career was taking an abrupt turn. He became a small piece in a high-powered passing game, catching only 15 passes all season for 275 yards and one uncelebrated touchdown.
Ochocinco sounded upbeat about all of it. Asked if it was bittersweet for him to get to the title game as a reserve receiver without a podium, he smiled.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press