Chad Ochocinco was released by the New England Patriots yesterday after an extremely disappointing season. He somehow managed only 276 receiving yards while playing 15 games for a team that passed for over 5,000 yards. According to sources within the organization, Ochocinco’s inability to learn the playbook was a consistent problem, continuing into this spring.
At age 34, that kind of precipitous decline almost universally means the player is done.
I went back to the 1978 season and found all receivers between ages 32 and 34 who (a) had averaged at least 50 yards per game in 3 or more seasons, and (b) fell off to fewer than 30 yards per game while playing in at least 10 games.
Sometimes, I like to just summarize the results. But I love to look at old receiver names, and this list is good to remind you that yes, Player _________ did finish his career with Team _________. 31 names appear on this list. Only one of them rebounded to ever post a season when they averaged 40 receiving yards or more per game. James Lofton had a career revival in Buffalo, after being released by the Raiders before the 1989 season, then latching on with the Bills and playing as a reserve for a year. He would have 1,000 yards in 1991. Andre Rison is the only other one to even get to 600 yards the next year. Randy Moss will be trying to do the trick after sitting out last season, and Chad Ocho Cinco will also fight against history as he looks for another job.
Players with less than 30 receiving yards per game at age 32 to 34, and at least 3 prior years with 50+ receiving yards per game:
[photo via US Presswire]