Football fans know that 85 is Chad Ochocinco’s favorite number. But on Tuesday night he earned the distinction of being the 100th celebrity to be eliminated on Dancing With the Stars, falling a week short of the season 10 finale. But as far as the Cincinnati Bengals’ star is concerned, he has accomplished what he set out to do.
“To go up against the kind competition we had and come this far, I’ve already won,” he told PEOPLE after Tuesday’s live results show.
Paired with two-time Dancing champ Cheryl Burke, Ochocinco steadily improved each week he was in the competition. Despite receiving their highest marks from the judges on Monday’s performance show, the couple’s scores were the lowest of the four remaining competitors at the end of the night.
“We kind of knew we were going home tonight,” Burke conceded to PEOPLE. “Our scores were so much lower than the others so we felt it was going to happen.”
“That’s why I am at peace right now,” Ochocinco said. “We had a great night last night and that’s the way to end it. That’s the way to go out. It would have been nice if we could have danced like that every week.”
“With his shirt off, at least everyone got to see the goods,” Burke joked, referring to Ochocinco’s washboard abs.
Like his fellow cast mates who were eliminated before him this season, Ochocinco plans on staying in touch with “this entire cast,” he said. “There’s a time this season when everybody will fly out to a football game, which they will have no other choice but to attend, and I can’t wait for that.”
Next up for Ochocinco is his VH1 reality dating show, The Tournament, which will have him on a quest to find a girlfriend among 85 female contestants. “Then I’ll go back to football,” Ochocinco says, noting that he’s not going to give up his day job for a life in TV just yet.
“Being on TV is how I stay out of trouble every off season,” he said, joking that he’s not done dancing just yet. “Next year I’ll come back here as a pro.”
On Monday, Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews, and singer Nicole Scherzinger will compete for the mirror ball trophy. The winner will then be crowned on Dancing’s May 25 season finale. –Monica RizzoCraig Sjodin/ABC