Johnson, who has 766 career receptions for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns over an 11-year NFL career, told ESPN.com he has switched back to his birth name after going by "Ochocinco" in honor of his number 85 during the last four years.
"Ochocinco is still in me," he told the broadcaster. "It's just my middle name."
He said his new wife, Evelyn Lozada, wanted a real last name.
"I'm just doing it for the marriage," the 34-year-old player said.
Johnson registered career lows for New England last year with 15 grabs for 276 yards and just one TD.
"I'm refocused and locked in," Johnson told ESPN.com. "Time to get back to the old me."