NFL star Chad Ochocinco treated dozens of fans to a fancy dinner in Indianapolis Wednesday after posting the offer on Twitter.The news sent the fingers of football fans flying. “He started posting about it this morning,” Bengals fan Joe Trinosky said. “He’s been throwing little hints out all day. I saw the post, so I headed out of work and showed up just in time.”
The idea even surprised St. Elmo general manager Chris Clifford.”The first thing that goes through your head is, ‘Is this for real?’” he said. “And then he called and we started communicating by phone.”
A line quickly formed at St. Elmo, where 66 people ended up getting wristbands to secure a seat at the private dinner with the NFL star.he tweet went out just after 4 p.m., and Clifford said the wristbands were gone in 25 minutes.
“We were sitting in here watching people just running from blocks away, coming in pouring sweat and saying, ‘Did I make it? Did I make it?’”
But not everyone had the fastest fingers or made the fastest time.Some who came to the restaurant Wednesday missed the chance at a dinner, but they stayed just hoping to catch a glimpse of number 85 as he arrived by taxi with teammate Terrell Owens.
Both attended the downtown dinner with fans.For Ochocinco, the tweet treat has become tradition for away games for the past two years.He said Twitter helped him gain control of his image and the dinners allow fans to see him as a person, not just a player.
“You look at TV, you watch TV. You see the stuff on the field, you think you have one perception, but this is just to give the perception of who the real me is,” he said. “It’s also a gesture of appreciation for them supporting me in all I do.”
So with cameras and footballs waiting to be signed, fans shook his hand and sat with the star for a gourmet Indy feast. Ochocinco said he chose St. Elmo because of its national reputation. “Someone said St. Elmo was the best place to eat in Indy and I heard they were damn near the best in the world,” he said. “And they also said to try the shrimp cocktail.” 66 people is not a cheap date.
Clifford estimated that with dinner, drinks and tax, it likely cost Ochocinco about $7,000. The word is that he may do it again when the Bengals play the Colts during the regular season in November.