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Chad Ochocinco: 'I took this [year] as a challenge, a lesson'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  January 31, 2012 04:05 PM

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Although it was a difficult to accept a reduced role in the Patriots passing scheme when he was brought in from Cincinnati for a $6 million free agent deal, Chad Ochocinco said it was well worth it to him to be able to finally make it to the Super Bowl.

"The winning experience is always great,'' said Ochocinco, who made 15 catches for 276 yards, both career lows, in 15 games (including three starts) this season. "Whether you have a big role, small role, or no role at all, that's awesome. Everything this year is something that I've never been used to, and what I've had this year is something I can grow accustomed to.''

Asked if he ever was resigned to the fact he would never make the Super Bowl with the Bengals, Ochocinco replied, "I never thought of it like that. But, what I always do is always work, always work. You guys know how I am; a workaholic and that's the way I've always approached it. Maybe in a little different way I'm a little bouyant, a little flashy at times, but that's what drove me.''

Asked if he his role might expand for Sunday's game if Rob Gronkowski's injured left ankle does not respond, Ochocinco said, "I don't know. I haven't seen the script.''

On whether this season was tough on him: "No, not really," he said. "If it was emotionally draining I think I would have spoke out like I did in the past. I took this as a challenge, as a lesson. I think it was a test from you-know-who upstairs, God.

" 'Will he be able to handle himself in different circumstances when he’s not that guy, if he’s not that main focal point? Will he be able to handle it?' And I think I did extremely well."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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