Chad Johnson is floating the idea of an unusual NFL comeback.
The former NFL wide receiver has publicly discussed the idea of a comeback for years, but this week gave fans a peek at his real plans to come back — this time, as a place kicker. Johnson shared a video on his Instagram page showing him lining up and nailing a kick from what appeared to be 45 yards.
In the caption for the video, Johnson said he had been in touch with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and would be getting a chance to come back, adding that he could hit kicks from 60 or 70 yards.
It’s not clear how serious Johnson might be or if the post was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but he does have actual experience kicking in the NFL during his 11 seasons in the NFL. Johnson served as the emergency kicker for the Cincinnati Bengals and was called into service during the 2009 preseason when kicker Shayne Graham went down with a groin injury. Johnson hit an extra point that secured the win for the Bengals over the New England Patriots, and also booted a kickoff to the 9-yard-line to start the second half.
Johnson noted after the game that he grew up playing soccer and always had a strong leg.
“I went out there and did what I do,” Johnson said at the time, via Bleacher Report. “I just kicked. … Everyone has to remember, I’ve always said that soccer is my No. 1 sport. I think Ronaldinho would be proud of me right now.”
Despite his age, Johnson could have a chance if he can prove to consistently hit kicks as long as he did in the Instagram video. This season has seen a decline in accuracy among NFL kickers, with The Ringer noting that accuracy fell by 5 percent through the end of November compared to last year.
As the report noted, the lowest tier of NFL kickers on rosters has been “especially bad” this year.
“Four teams that needed to turn to a free-agent kicker have been so underwhelmed by the performance of that free-agent kicker that they’ve had to cut that guy and bring in somebody new,” the report noted.
This may not make it easier for Chad Johnson to make an NFL comeback after close to a decade out of the league and at a position he never played in a regular-season game, but it would seem to lower the bar a bit.