Chad Johnson is officially back in professional football.
Association football, that is.
Five months after starting a trial with Boca Raton FC of the United Premier Soccer League, the former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver has signed to the club for the 2019 season, marking the official start of his pro soccer career. A veteran of five games with Boca Raton FC, Johnson will make his 2019 debut in the team’s season opener on Saturday, the club announced Tuesday.
“We are excited to have Chad on the club,” Boca Raton president Douglas Heizer said. “Chad has a tremendous heart and is a joy to be around and has been nothing but a team player since day one with Boca Raton FC.”
Johnson, of course, has made his affinity for soccer known since long before the end of his NFL career. A six-time Pro Bowler with the Bengals who set rewrote the Cincinnati receiving record book during his 2001-2010 tenure with the team, the ex-wideout formerly known as “Ochocinco” partook in a trial with Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City during the 2011 NFL lockout. He also famously served as the Bengals’ emergency kicker.
The 41-year-old Johnson was last seen on a gridiron football field in 2017, when he played one game with the Monterrey Fundidores of the LFA, the top American football league in Mexico. He also spent parts of 2014-2015 with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes following brief stints with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. Outside of football and soccer, he’s remained in the athletic spotlight, guest hosting WWE and participating in a Professional Bull Riders event among other ventures.