Cincinnati Bengals: 15 greatest wide receivers of all-time

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
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player. 56. . WR. (2001-10). Chad Johnson. 1

  • 2x First-Team All-Pro (2005-06)
  • 6x Pro Bowl (2003-07, 2009)
  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (2003-04)
  • 2006 NFL receiving yards leader (1,369)

Chad Johnson was one of the best receivers during the 2000s. Drafted in the second-round out of Oregon State alongside teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the 2001 NFL Draft, they helped change the culture in Cincinnati from bungling losers to AFC playoff contenders.

Johnson was a reliable, sure-handed receiver during the early Marvin Lewis years in Cincinnati. He made six Pro Bowls in his NFL career, as well as four All-Pro teams. His two Second-Team All-Pro designations came in 2003 and 2004, predating his two First-Team nods coming in 2005 and 2006.

In 2006, Johnson led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,369. That was his fifth season in a row where he went over 1,000 yards. He broke that threshold each year from 2002 to 2009, with the exception being the 2008 campaign. While he never had a 100-reception season, Johnson was in the high 80s to mid 90s throughout his playing prime with the Bengals.

For as great of a receiver he was in the AFC, he might have been more influential for his antics in between snaps on the field. Johnson had a little bit of the diva flare to him, always coming up with funny and elaborate celebrations to make playing the game of football fun. They didn’t translate to any playoff victories, but certainly brought some attention to the Bengals in the 2000s.

Johnson left the Bengals after the 2010 NFL season. He played a lackluster year with the 2011 New England Patriots, briefly playing with the Miami Dolphins in 2012 training camp before retiring. He is the franchise record holder for most career receptions (751), receiving yardage (10,783) and touchdown receptions (66).

Next. Cincinnati Bengals: 30 greatest players of all-time. dark

Canton evades Johnson, but there is a decent chance he will one day make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While only left tackle Anthony Muñoz has been enshrined primarily on his play with the Bengals, Johnson is on the short list of retired Cincinnati greats like quarterback Ken Anderson, offensive tackle Willie Anderson and quarterback Boomer Esiason who could one day earn a gold jacket.