PBR on challenging Chad Ochocinco: We'll 'see if he's got the guts' to ride
The bull is named Deja Blu. He weighs about 1,500 pounds. He may have an appointment this weekend with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
The Professional Bull Riders says it has chosen Deja Blu for Ochocinco to ride if he takes the PBR up on its challenge. The try would take place Saturday night at the PBR's Lucas Oil Invitational at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth,. Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.
This is Deja Blu's fourth PBR season. His name is a play on Dodger Blue. He was once co-owned by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. This season, he has successfully been ridden for eight seconds five out of 12 times out of the chute (58.3 percent buck-off rate). His average buck-off time: 3.87 seconds. He's smallish by the standards of the PBR, which has some 2,000-plus-pounders.
"We wanted a bull that was going to give him a reasonable run, something that's been ridden and is clearly a ride-able bull," Sean Gleason, chief operating officer of the PBR, said Thursday. " … But have one that has a record of also bucking off some of the best cowboys in the world."
They are skilled, pro riders. The PBR's challenge grew out of exchanges on Twitter between Ochocinco and Gleason.
Gleason said he first thought Ochocinco was kidding but later decided he was serious. "I thought,well, if this guy wants to basically throw out a challenge … I'm going to answer the call and see if he's got the guts to do it," said Gleason.
He said he had confirmed through contacts with the office of Ochocinco's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, that he would attempt the ride. "I've spoken to several people in Rosenhaus' organization and I've actually booked flights for Chad, worked through all of the details. As far as we know, he's coming," said Gleason.
He said the PBR is offering Ochocinco a day of training Friday with Ty Murray, PBR co-founder and a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
"I guess as much coaching as you can get in basically 24 hours in the sport of bull riding, which won't be a lot," said Gleason.
He said the pointers will include "how to wreck" and "get off the bull when he does get into trouble." He said Ochocinco also would have to decide whether he wants to hold on with his right or left hand. He said the PBR would use a simulated, mechanical bull to prep him.
"We'll take every precaution we can, but bull riding is a sport that the first time somebody tries it is a dangerous sport, whether you're in a private pen … or whether you're on the back of a bull at a Built Ford Tough Series event," said Gleason.
He said Ochocinco will be required to sign a waiver. "Basically a release of all liability and acknowledging that bull riding is a dangerous sport," said Gleason.
Ochocinco is one of the players currently locked out league-wide by the NFL. He is heading into the sixth and final year of a contract with the Bengals signed in April of 2006. He is due to make $6 million in the next season.
The standard NFL contract includes a clause which gives clubs the right to prevent the player from engaging in "any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury." It says they must seek club permission before any such activities. But this is a lockout. A Bengals team spokesman declined comment Thursday on Ochocinco's possible ride.
"It's all in abeyance now. There is nothing. If you were to call a team to seek permission, you wouldn't get a return call," said veteran NFL player agent Ralph Cindrich of Pittsburgh.
In his career, Cindrich also was involved for more than a year in representation of bull riders.
"The first question I would ask (Ochocinco) is has he ever been down in the pen, next to a bull. It's raging back and forth and the bull riders are jumping on that bull and pounding on that rope trying to get that rope tied, and this beast is banging back and forth," said Cindrich. "To me if you haven't been right there, you're not gonna do it. He won't do it."
Would Ochocinco jeopardize his $6 million for next season if he is hurt riding a bull and unable to fulfill his NFL contract?
"If he were to be injured and come into camp with a bad shoulder that wasn't reported at the end of the year or if he were to come in with a broken arm … he could face a dilemma. That salary would not be earned until he's (healthy and) on the team," said Cindrich.
Cindrich said Ochocinco could possibly lose a proportional share on a per game basis of his signing bonus for any games missed due to dangerous outside activities.
If Ochocinco does ride, Cindrich said it would be smart for him to get off the floor of the arena as quickly as possible after he's tossed.
"This is where his speed could really come in handy," said Cindrich.
Here is the PBR's challenge:
If he just attempts to ride Deja Blue, the PBR will pay him $10,000.
If he rides him the required eight seconds, the PBR will present him with a new Ford F-150 truck and let him rename the bull anything he wants. On Twitter, Ochocinco has suggested he might name the bull Marvin Lewis, after the Bengals coach. The PBR has also thrown in another potential prize from another sponsor: an Outlaw lawn mower from Bad Boy Mowers.
If Ochocinco does not try to ride the bull, the PBR will rename the bull "#58 No Show Cinco." That number is the reverse of the No. 85 Ochocinco wears for the Bengals.
Gleason said Ochocinco just has to show up.
"We have boots, jeans, cowboy hat, vest, chaps, all the way down to the belt. ... He can ride in whatever he wants … but we're going to have all of the gear that he needs there," said Gleason.