A more reserved Chad Ochocinco met with the New England media for the first time after Saturday's practice at Gillette Stadium, and he vowed to scale it back to concentrate solely on football. The fun-loving character will shy away from the reality-television persona that sometimes created more headlines than his on-field work in Cincinnati.
Instead, he'll proudly wear the "angel wings" that he said he received from head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, who welcomed him to "heaven."
"It's a new chapter in my life," Ochocinco said. "I'm happy to be here. It's going to be a little quiet. You won't get the same Chad you're used to. I probably won't be talking to the media much, probably not at all really. I just want to play ball and ride the wave."
Ochocinco didn't discuss specifics of his meeting with Belichick, or if the head coach even asked him to tone it down. In the past, though, Belichick has said he admired the way Ochocinco had fun with the game. Of course, that was his opinion from the outside.
"Every player on this team, every person on this team has their own individual personality," Belichick said Saturday. "None of us are the same. It's probably a good thing."
Ochocinco quickly handled one order of business Friday, although tight end Aaron Hernandez probably deserves the majority of the credit for the pair's quick jersey transaction. Hernandez immediately offered to hand over No. 85 as a sign of respect for the veteran's accomplishments throughout his 10-year career.
"He was No. 85," Hernandez said. "It's his last name. He's a great player, and I like 81. I used it in college, and I thought he deserved it, so I talked to him and he wanted it. So I gave it up."
Ochocinco was more than gracious.
"This was Mr. Hernandez's way of greeting me here," Ochocinco said. "He gave me the number. I didn't have to pay anything. I just shook his hand. I said, 'Thank you.'"
Hernandez could have held the jersey number for a huge ransom, so Ochocinco promised to repay him in good faith. By the sounds of it, though, Hernandez's biggest haul in the deal might have been the handshake.
"I drive a Toyota Prius, so I was going to let him use my Prius on the weekends," Ochocinco deadpanned. "That's about the best I can do right now, and I have some leftover McDonald's coupons since I don't eat there anymore."
While Ochocinco also admitted there was "no need" for some of his past antics — he didn't mention anything specific — he probably won't completely fall out of character. Even so, Saturday's proclamation must have sounded harmonic to the ears of the conservative Patriots.
Ochocinco's compliments toward the organization likely earned him some bonus points, too.
"I'm going to always be me," Ochocinco said. "That's been a part of my game. I'm going to always be me, but there's a certain way that the Patriots do it. It's easy for me. I've always been a chameleon, so I'm going to blend in and do it the Patriot Way, which is win."