Chad Johnson played one season for the Patriots, a quiet tenure in which he never came close to channeling the success of his Bengals hey-day. Around The NFL Podcast colleague Gregg Rosenthal has long contended Johnson's no-show in Super Bowl XLVI was a major factor in the team's second title game loss to the Giants.
Johnson never seemed like a "culture fit" on Patriot Way, and an anecdote the former All-Pro shared on the FS1 gabfest Undisputed offered up some insight on why he never got comfortable in Foxborough.
"Let me tell you what scared me as a player. First day, team meeting ... no greeting, no nothing. He puts on the loss to the Jets in the playoff or something where they went home early. And he puts it on and rips into Tom (Brady). First meeting, no practice, like (in front of) everybody, and he's going on and he's at Tom's head. And I'm like, 'Is this a joke? Are we being Punk'd?' Because from my understanding, as a coach, you don't chastise your quarterback and you definitely don't do it in front of everybody.
"And he laid his you-know-what out and I was like, 'Oh my God.' And that set the tone for me. I was walking on eggshells from that point on."
Johnson said that the Patriots' commitment to perfection stood out from past experiences in his career.
"They expected so much and everything had to be here [holds hand above head] at all times," he said. "You mess up a play? Let's run it again. You mess it up again? Let's run it again. Everything was perfect. Remember the beginning of Full Metal Jacket? That's what it's like being there. Man, everything on point and Bill is that drill sergeant."
Let's hope Bill's career ends in a more dignified manner than that of doomed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. By the way, Johnson begins his anecdote by sincerely asking the rest of the Undisputed panel if they think it's OK for him to share his experience. "Do you think I'll get in trouble for this story? Because Patriots stuff is usually kept in house."
Johnson has been out of football for four years and has no tie to the Patriots and he's still scared of Belichick! Tells you a lot.