There have been plenty of athletes on the show, including former NFL players Emmitt Smith (who won Season 3), Jerry Rice (second in Season 2), Jason Taylor (second in Season 6), Warren Sapp (second in Season 7), Lawrence Taylor and Michael Irvin.
But Ochocinco, 32, is just the second active player to take part in the competition (joining Taylor), and so he told the Bengals team website that he wouldn't have agreed to do it without the consent of head coach Marvin Lewis. The competition starts March 22 and ends in late May, meaning he'll miss the team's offseason conditioning program.
Said Ocho: “I was nervous about it because if Coach Lew told me he didn’t want me to do it, I would have told the people ‘No.' But he knows that football is always first and I’m not going to let this hurt my focus. He told me, ‘I think this will be good for you (physically).' ”
Bill Parcells wasn't too keen on Taylor skipping offseason preparation with the Dolphins a year after they finished 1-15. But with the Bengals coming off an NFC North crown (their first since 2005) and an appearance on Hard Knocks, how distracting could this possibly be?
Ochocinco, who is coming off his seventh 1,000-yard receiving season, is a walking distraction, so entering this competition is tame for him. He even said it would help his game, as it'll make him more flexible due to all the stretching.
He'll be paired up with 25-year old Cheryl Burke, who won the title with Smith, and with Cincinnati native Drew Lachey.
“She’s tough. She’s a competitor. She wants to win,” Ochocinco said about Burke on Tuesday from Hollywood. “She’s beautiful and she’s got a great personality. I’m just going to bring my personality and character to it.”
In honor of St. Patty's Day on the horizon, here is Ochocinco's Riverdance...