FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A contrite Chad Johnson, who slapped his attorney on the backside in court last week, apologized Monday for disrespecting a judge and the former player was released from jail after a week instead of serving all of his 30-day sentence.
Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh accepted Johnson’s apology and cut back his jail term for a probation violation to the seven days he had already served since the court appearance. Johnson, a wide receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, said in court he had time to think about why his flippant attitude was wrong — especially in a domestic-violence case.
“I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time,” said the 35-year-old Johnson, wearing a tan jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled at the waist. “I apologize. I did have time to reflect on the mistakes I made in this courtroom.”
Johnson, whose most recent NFL game was for New England in the February 2012 Super Bowl. told reporters he was thankful to McHugh because she was the first person to get him to slow down and think about the path his life was taking.
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“No one has been able to do it, not even my parents,” he said. “I thank her. Everything she did was justified.”
Asked if he hoped to latch on with an NFL team, Johnson said, “I just have to say my next move, my best move.”
McHugh noted that in a previous hearing, Johnson put his arm around a female prosecutor’s shoulders, prompting her to tell him twice not to touch her. The judge also pointed out when Johnson head-butted his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada of the reality TV show “Basketball Wives,” she suffered a 3-inch gash on her head that required eight stitches.
McHugh also said Johnson failed to appreciate “the gift of probation” after pleading no contest to battery in the altercation in August with Lozada, which prompted her to file for divorce. Johnson was in court because he had failed to meet with his probation officer for three consecutive months.
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Meanwhile, ex-Packers receiver Donald Driver, 38, said he would end his retirement if the team asked him to return but has no interest in playing for another franchise.
• HBO officials announced the Cincinnati Bengals will be featured in the training-camp documentary show “Hard Knocks” for the second time in five years. This year’s first show is Aug. 6.
The Bengals also were featured on “Hard Knocks” in 2009.