Despite appearances, Chad Johnson wasn’t all about the glitz and glam. He thought smarter than he worked to achieve fame and fortune.

The former star NFL wide receiver admitted he saved money by flying Spirit Airlines and wearing fake jewelry from Claire’s early in his career.

“Fly private? I ain’t flying private,” he said on a Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast. “Put me on Spirit. Exit row. Window seat. That’s all I need,” Johnson explained. “As long as I get from point A to point B. I don’t need private.”

Johnson estimated that Johnson saved 83% of his salary by making smart moves like living in the Bengals facility as an rookie.

“I never brought real anything when I was playing. Never,” He stated. “What was the point? I went to Claire’s. For what? What am I doing it for? The women are going to deal with you anyway, because of who you are, and then the other women, who are really doing their homework done Googled how much you making already. Why am I buying a $50,000 watch, $80,000 dollar watch?”

Johnson, 45, who was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro in his 11-year NFL career, says he wasn’t perfect, and told Sharpe that he didn’t get caught up in material things.

Chad Johnson shared how he saved money on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay”.

“If you can get to a point in your career where your name becomes bigger than anything you can purchase, there’s your value,” Johnson, who changed his surname to “Ochocinco,” Sharpe.

Johnson is now well-known for leaving generous tips to waitresses and waiters, as well as engaging his fans in video gaming.

“Everybody is caught up in image and looking a certain way and being rich. It’s me. It’s pointless,” He said it with a smile. “You know how hard it’s to live like that all the time, consistently, and be fly every day?”

in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Bojorquez/Getty Images)
Chad Ochocinco Johnson, NFL wide receiver star, at his home in May 2005

Chad Ochocinco poses with Simon G Jewelry at the 2010 Hollywood Life Young Hollywood Awards in 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Chad Ochocinco poses alongside Simon G Jewelry during the 2010 Hollywood Life Young Hollywood Awards 2010 in Los Angeles.


Johnson spent most of his career in Cincinnati, with one year in New England. Johnson finished his career with 766 receptions for 11,059 yards and the 67 receiving touchdowns.