Yes, this is actually happening. What started as a Twitter joke by an employee with Sporting Kansas City, NFL star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will join the team next Tuesday for a four-day trial with the Major League Soccer team.
Last week I wrote about the storylines to keep an eye out for heading into the 2011 season, but undoubtedly, the story likely to bring the most publicity to the team this year was yet to come about. Yes, this is really happening.
If you follow mainstream sports, you know Ochocinco, his name, his face and his extroverted, extremely public persona. Without question, Sporting KC will spend more time on ESPN and SportsCenter over the next couple days than they would have the enter season. So, from that aspect, it's a huge win for public relations side of things.
The question, though, is "can he play?" Over the winter, he spent time in Spain visting with Spanish powerhouses FC Barcelona and Real Madrid - two clubs that he claims to have close friends on each team. As a child, he was reportedly active as a youth player in his native Miami. He kicked an extra point and took kickoff duties in a preseason NFL game in 2009, while his team, the Cincinnati Bengals, were featured on the HBO special "Hard Knocks". The answer to the question, I do not have. But, I will on Tuesday. We'll see then if he's serious about playing soccer, or if he's simply just missing the spotlight while the NFL is under a work stoppage.
We will know, because yes, this is really happening.