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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
DULUTH, Ga. — When it was over — and it was over quickly, even by the standards of a sport where eight seconds is a benchmark — Chad Ochocinco reflected on his evening as a bull rider.
He spoke of the strength of his mount, a 1,500-pound brown American bucking bull named Deja Blu, who tossed him after just 1.5 seconds. He praised professional bull riders, for whom he has earned a healthy respect.
"This sport doesn't get enough credit, as far as the athletes, what it takes to do that," Ochocinco said. "That's ridiculous."
What Ochocinco didn't reflect much upon was his future, football or otherwise. He sidestepped a question about the prospect of Falcons QB coach Bob Bratkowski, formerly the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, putting in a good word for Ochocinco should the receiver's career with the Bengals end.
"It's the lockout, man," Ochocinco said. "I'm riding bulls. I don't want to talk about football."
Ochocinco said bull riding was something on his "bucket list" and a "one-and-done" experience.
Which begged the question: what's next on that list?
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know, man."
"Typical reporter," said Ty Murray, a nine-time world-champion bull rider who coached Ochocinco, who chimed in, somewhat jokingly. He wanted Ochocinco to enjoy the moment.
And Ochocinco, no doubt, is someone who lives in the moment. As he tells it, he saw something on television about leading PBR rider Valdiron de Oliveira, tweeted that he would be competing in the PBR event at the Gwinnett Arena this weekend, and the PBR took him up on his offer.
A little more than a week later, Ochocinco was atop Deja Blu in the chute, waiting for the gate to open. Shortly thereafter, he was on the ground, in danger of being stomped by a bull bred to buck, but he was able to hurry away from the hooves to safety.
For riding the bull, Ochocinco earned $10,000, which he likely will donate to Feed The Children. And say this for Ochocinco — he appeared to take this seriously, taking coaching from Murray and citing teaching points from the legendary rider afterward.
In the end, Ochocinco got a thrill, avoided disaster and crossed another item off his list. On Sunday morning, he had exceeded two million followers on Twitter, another sign of his burgeoning personal brand, one that surely wasn't hurt by the events of Saturday night.
Early Sunday, he was on a flight back to Miami. We know because he was tweeting on the airplane. And what a wide audience Ochocinco has. Some surely got to know him first on "Dancing With The Stars." Soccer fans might like his appreciation of their game, too.
The days of him being viewed as just a football player are long over. Good for him. Of course, that is easier to say when the bull's feet hit nothing but dirt.
Ochocinco, 33, is three-quarters of the way to 1,000 catches. Others will note he is two-thirds of the way to three million Twitter followers. You know what? Both are meaningful in their own ways. Hey, it's the world we live in, and Chad Ochocinco is enjoying himself, thank you very much.