Chad Johnson Talks Life After Domestic Violence, Plans for NFL Return

Chad Johnson, 34-year-old NFL free agent, joined ESPN's "First Take" debate desk where he revealed his feelings about domestic violence and returning to the NFL.

Johnson joined hosts Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to tell them exactly how his career and marriage to reality television star Evelyn Lozada took a downward spiral.

"What happened was a mistake, that's what happened. A mistake that I continually apologized for to the people I've hurt including my wife," Johnson said on the show. "I think me continuing to say sorry drowns it out. I've accepted responsibility for my actions."

Johnson spoke candidly about his domestic dispute that led to an arrest and him being fired from the Miami Dolphins.

"Everybody on the outside sees it one way, okay you got cut. There was a domestic dispute for one which was all my fault, because I'm living life the way it shouldn't be lived which is why I lost everything I did," Johnson said. "Because that man upstairs is saying let me bring you back a little bit you're a little too wild. So it is what it is, I made my bed I'm laying in it and I paid the price.

"I've gotten in trouble in the past. I'm not sure what year this was 1997. The only thing I can do right now is get help for the problem that I have and right now that is domestic violence classes. The court said you have a program that you have to get through before you do anything else with your life."

Johnson admitted that he has had issues with domestic violence in the past, but said that others should not crucify him.

"Since the incident I'm getting necessary help. I'm going to domestic violence classes and I'm still training," Johnson said. "Now that my life has slowed down I'm able to see so many things a lot clearer. My stance (on domestic violence) is it's wrong. But don't crucify me because we all sin differently. We all do."

Despite his indiscretions, Johnson insists that he can still play football. However, Johnson did reflect on what went wrong during his stint with the New England Patriots during the 2011-2012 season.

"It worked for 10 years and I get to New England and it didn't work. What makes it even worst it didn't work with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game," Johnson said. "I went to practice, I worked hard I did everything I was supposed to do. I didn't get the touches I wanted. Why was I upset? Because I'm playing with one of the best teams much less quarterbacks that I will ever play with."

When Smith questioned if being a top receiver in the league was important to Johnson, he said it was not.

"Having a job is sufficient for me. I have no leverage to come off right now which is why I'm taking the approach that I'm taking," Johnson said. "Then we'll talk about numbers."

After Bayless asked Johnson if he realizes that he may be facing NFL extinction, the free agent responded candidly.

"Skip, look at me. If I don't play again I will be all right…I will get the opportunity to play again," Johnson said. "Why? Because this is the NFL and there's always second chances."