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After being drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson didn’t want to fall into the trap we see so many young professional athletes fall for. Instead of blowing his $1.4 million signing bonus, Johnson set out to save his money and had a very interesting strategy for doing so.
The former NFL wide receiver recently sat down with Shannon Sharpe on the ‘Club Shay Shay‘ podcast and the two got to talking about money, specifically Johnson’s reputation of being frugal. This is when Johnson revealed that he actually lived inside the Cincinnati Bengals stadium for the first two years of his career.
“I stayed at the stadium the first two years because I didn’t want to spend no money,” Johnson said. “What’s the point? Why are you telling me to go rent a house, go buy a house, or go rent a condo when everything I need is right here in the facility at Paul Brown? Showers, cafeteria, TV, couch, gaming system. What’s the point?”
You hear about these kinds of stories around Minor League Baseball where staff and players quite literally can’t afford rent, but for an NFL player who inked a seven-figure signing bonus and a lengthy contract is unprecedented.
To Johnson’s credit, he saw an opportunity and took advantage of it, and did so until then head coach Marvin Lewis kicked him out in his third year of bumming off the franchise.
“That’s when Marvin (Lewis) came in and said, ‘It’s time for you to be responsible. Spread your wings. Get your own place,’” Johnson said. “I moved right down the street.”
Johnson had other ways of saving money, too.
The six-time Pro Bowler also duped everyone by wearing fake jewelry. Not only that, he flew on cheap flights, like Spirit Airlines, instead of blowing cash on higher-end airlines or an occasional private jet.