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NFL's Chad Ochocinco to try his hand at the real football with Sporting Kansas City

March 16, 2011 | 10:30 am

Ocho_400 Six-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and well-known media-attention seeker Chad Ochocinco is set to have a four-day "tryout" with Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City next week.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver is an acknowledged soccer fan and reportedly counts such stars as Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho in his circle of friends.

"We know that Chad is an exceptional athlete and that he loves the sport of soccer, and he did play a lot when he was younger," said Sporting Kansas City Coach Peter Vermes, a former U.S. national team striker.

"We're excited to see how his skills will translate once he arrives next week and begins training with our team."

Ochocinco, the former Chad Johnson of Miami, played youth soccer until he reached high school. A second-round draft choice out of Oregon State, he holds a handful of Bengal receiving records and is one of only six players in NFL history to compile 10,000 yards with a single team.

"Due to the NFL lockout, I'm excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team," Ochocinco said in a statement released by Sporting.

Publicity stunt? Sure, but having a 6-foot-1, 192-pound striker with an NFL receiver's speed and on-field awareness couldn't hurt Kansas City if he were to switch to the real football.

Not that his hands would be of any use.


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-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco during media day for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons / US Presswire