Former NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson has experienced a diverse career filled with numerous highs and lows. For years, after he left the professional sport he made headlines for his bad behavior and reckless living, now, it seems things have taken a positive turn, particularly with the launch of his internet show, “Nightcap,” alongside fellow retired athlete-turned-talking head Shannon Sharpe.
To mark his 56th birthday on Jan. 9 and celebrate his recent achievements, Johnson, who is known for being tight with his money, made an unexpected move by withdrawing $500,000 in cash from his account to splurge on himself. This unexpected gesture not only surprised his co-host but also brought a genuine smile to Sharpe’s face, recognizing it as one of the rare instances where his friend felt the liberating embrace of financial freedom.
While talking about his upcoming birthday, he said he was going to “act a fool,” and ball out of control like his favorite rapper.
When Sharpe asked Johnson what he was going to get for his birthday on the episode that aired Jan. 2, the Miami native left the screen to retrieve the mystery gift. The former Broncos tight end, joked, “He probably gonna come back with some electric bicycle” before calling him a “cheap a—.”
@aceclippeditt Ocho too funny buh 😂😂 #fy #shannonsharpe #ochocinco #unc ♬ origineel geluid – ACE ♠️
Johnson came back with what he said was $200,000 or $300,000 in bundled bills.
“My birthday, right? I’m gonna pay cash for it,” he said, adding, “I don’t spend no money now but I’m going to treat myself.”
Sharpe continued to tease his friend, saying, “I don’t know what he is gonna buy. Must be buying an island or an airplane.”
‘Do It the Way the Rappers Do It’
After Johnson took the money back, he revealed that in total he took out half a million and that he didn’t plan to invest it but “to do it the way the rappers do it.”
“I want to know what it feels like to go somewhere and be carrying cash and pay for cash and be like you know what I got this, and I did it the right way,” the former Dolphins wide receiver explained.
In his past life, as an NFL star, Johnson seemed to live an extraordinarily flamboyant life, including legally changing his name from his birth name to a bastardized Spanish version of his jersey number, 85.
Many NFL ballers have faced financial hardships, succumbing to the league’s lavish spending norms and navigating through other financial hurdles such as divorces or career-ending injuries, but not Johnson.
He opted for being cheap, wearing imitation jewelry from Claire’s, exclusively leasing his exotic cars, and choosing budget airlines for travel to economize. His unconventional choices extended how he lived. He lived in the Bengals’ stadium for two years, because he didn’t want to rent or purchase a home.
Everybody’s caught up in image, looking a certain way and being rich. It’s pointless,” he said.
In 2024, Johnson has an estimated net worth that falls within the range of $12 million to $15 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. His career NFL earnings from 2001 to 2011 amounted to more than $47 million.
By 2013, when he was in a legal dispute over child support, he reported his total assets at $5 million.
During this period, he said he was experiencing a monthly deficit of approximately $45,000, covering child support for his eight children, mortgages, food, and car payments. At the time, he claimed an income of $3,000 per month, translating to roughly $36,000 annually.
Fast-forward to a November 2021 appearance on the “Full Send” podcast, and Johnson was suggesting he had significantly higher wealth than the previously stated $5 million. He even went as far as providing evidence, purportedly revealing a $15 million balance in his bank account.
Even with all of that, the podcaster has decided to be frugal … for the most part. But for his birthday things had to change to this year.