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Super Bowl LV - The SHAQ Bowl

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After losing his mother, Paula Johnson, back in January, former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, opened up about how the tremendous loss is affecting him and his mental health.

“It hurts to lose the person responsible for who I am,” he shared on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. “Those memories will always be there. I have the memories, both good and bad. I’ve learned through the ups and downs that I have to find that happy medium and keep the pendulum from swinging too far in either direction.”

While the 43-year-old athlete says that he generally rates his mental wellness at a level ten, but since losing his mother, he’s at a level seven.

“Mentally, you know we lost mom, I lost mom, I lost my Hurricane, and so, um, probably now a 7. It f—-d me up a little bit,” he said.

Johnson then went on to discuss how he learned that his mom had passed away and became emotional while sharing the story.

“I knew it was an issue, and I called my brother right away. And then he answered the phone crying. I just hung up,” he shared while holding back tears. “I already knew what time it was, and then I mentally prepared myself to bury my ol’ girl.”

During their final interaction, Johnson recalls his mother being upset with him and going off in a series of texts because he didn’t go out with his family to celebrate his birthday.

“If that exchange had been her saying I love you or some sort of goodbye, it wouldn’t have been true to who my mama was,” said Johnson. “That’s what I’m used to. That gave me peace.”

The grief process is long and for some losses, it never ends — it only evolves.

“I’ve done my grieving, and I will continue to grieve over and over. I will continue to cry over and over,” said Johnson.


Johnson announced his mother’s passing on Instagram back in January, writing, “R.I.P to my Paula Johnson aka Hurricane Paula,” beneath a video clip that showed him dancing with his mom.

Losing a parent is never easy. We send our prayers to Johnson during this difficult time.


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