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VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Chad Johnson made a sharp cut to free himself from a defender, and then hauled in a pass at the 53-yard line. Yes, the 53. Football is going to be a little different now for the former NFL star. The receiver who once changed his last name to Ochocinco might be hearing a lot of "O Canada" this summer, and he insists hes humbled for that opportunity. Johnson was on the field with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL on Tuesday for the start of their three-day minicamp, and theres a very realistic chance that he will be with them when their season starts for real in June. "Its just football. Its football," Johnson said. "Its not about Montreal. Its about the opportunity to be able to play football again, something I love." Its something he lost two years ago. Johnson last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. He was in training camp with the Miami Dolphins -- his hometown team -- the following summer, but his contract was terminated one day after he was charged with misdemeanour domestic battery. A plea deal was eventually worked out, but after a probation violation Johnson wound up going to jail for a few days anyway after a judge objected to the way he slapped his attorney on the backside in celebration. He hasnt played since. "A horrible mistake," Johnson said. "A dream of mine since I was 4 years old was taken from me, rightfully so, by my wrongdoings and I just want to get back to doing something that I love to do, regardless of where it is. Montreal, flag football, back in the street the way I grew up . I just want to play football." The Alouettes have a history of not judging players by their checkered pasts, as evidenced by how they once gave former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips a chance on what became a Grey Cup-winning team in Montreal. "Its all business," Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said. "Its real. Hes in great shape. He wants to play and well see how things are." Popp shrugged off the notion that Johnsons presence is a publicity stunt. "None of you would know it was here unless it got tweeted out," Popp said. And Twitter does play quite a role in this story, since Johnson -- one of the worlds most popular athletes when it comes to social media -- used the power of his 3.6 million followers to help get the Alouettes attention. "Power of Twitter," Johnson said, grinning. The Alouettes were working out at Dodgertown, where some schoolkids were playing baseball on a nearby field. When their game ended, about a dozen of them came over to the football field to chant "Oc-ho-cin-co!" repeatedly. Some fans wearing his old Cincinnati Bengals jerseys watched, as did a couple in Patriots colours. "Like a kid again," Johnson said. He showed Tuesday that he can still run routes, and right there is why Montreal is eager to take a closer look. The CFL game is very much passing-friendly, and that can be at least partially attributed to several rule deviations from the NFL game. Teams in the CFL have only three downs to gain 10 yards instead of four. The field is 10 yards longer from goal line to goal line, is about 10 yards wider, and the end zones are 20 yards deep -- twice as long as those used in high school, college and pro play in the U.S. Montreal quarterback Troy Smith, the former Ohio State standout, said most people dont realize how much talent is in the CFL. And he believes Johnson can make an impact. "I know hes going to bring some fun and excitement to the team," Smith said. In short, even though theres 12 players on the field per team instead of 11, theres plenty of room for offences to manoeuvr. And in Canada, receivers cant be blocked or jammed unless theyre within a yard of the line of scrimmage. Of course, if Johnson heads to the CFL, he wont be exactly getting rich. The salary cap in the CFL is $4.4 million per team -- Johnson has had years where hes made about twice that much by himself. The average salary is around $85,000. "I dont even need a check," Johnson said. "Didnt I give it all away for 12 years straight? Think about it. Did I ever care about money when I played throughout my career? Still dont. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy the game. Thats it." DJ Moore Panthers Jersey . Numbers Game looks into the Wild getting Matt Moulson from Buffalo. The Wild Get: LW Matt Moulson and LW Cody McCormick. Rashaan Gaulden Jersey . HABS HEADED TO CONFERENCE FINAL The Montreal Canadiens scored early in Game Seven, built a lead and protected it well on their way to a 3-1 series-clinching win over the Boston Bruins. While this game or series isnt necessarily a referendum on the value of fourth lines, the Canadiens certainly benefitted from production lower down their forward depth chart. http://www.footballpanthersstore.us/Bla ... sey/.Brady threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman midway through the fourth quarter, and New England beat the San Diego Chargers 23-14 for its eighth win in nine games. Ian Thomas Panthers Jersey . The Raptors (15-15) posted six road victories last month and have won seven of their last nine games overall. Toronto visits the Washington Wizards on Friday night. Custom Panthers Jerseys . -- Jake Paterson made 39 saves as the Saginaw Spirit halted the Guelph Storms seven-game win streak with a 6-3 victory on Sunday in Ontario Hockey League action.Its more bad news for Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced the team is shutting down the veteran centre for three weeks as he continues to struggle with a knee injury. 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