MONTREAL (AP) — Former Bengals star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League.
The 36-year-old receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday after impressing team officials at a minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla. Johnson spent 10 seasons with the Bengals (2001-10) and last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England.
"It's about the opportunity to play football again – something I love," said Johnson. "I made a horrible mistake and a dream of mine since I was 4 years old was taken from me – rightfully so – and I just want to get back to doing what I love to do."
Johnson was in training camp in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins but his contract was terminated one day after he was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.
A plea deal was eventually worked out, but after a probation violation Johnson wound up going to jail for a few days after a judge objected to the way he slapped his lawyer on the backside in celebration.
Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco (he wore No. 85 for the Bengals), was a six-time Pro Bowler and caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns.
"Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days," Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. "As we added him into the mix, it was to see how he communicated with the players, how he held himself, the way he physically held up, his true interest in coming to the CFL.
"It was a total evaluation so that it's a good fit. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes."
Montreal already has a solid core of receivers in Duron Carter, S.J. Green and Jamel Richardson. The Alouettes will hold a training camp in June and open their regular season at Calgary on June 28.