The six-time Pro Bowl receiver failed to make the case, and after bidding Philbin farewell with a handshake, he walked out of the Dolphins' complex for good.
The scene was captured on the latest episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," which is chronicling the Dolphins' preseason. They terminated Johnson's contract Sunday night, about 24 hours after he was arrested in a domestic battery case involving his wife, Evelyn Lozada.
She subsequently announced plans to file for divorce, ending their marriage after barely a month. Johnson then lost his endorsement deal with Zico Coconut Water on Wednesday.
Johnson met with Philbin in the coach's office, and their conversation was brief. Johnson noted that he had been scolded earlier by the coach for a profanity-laced session with reporters, and had not done an interview since.
"Coach, I've never been in trouble before. Ever," said Johnson, who signed with the Dolphins in June. "And I buy into your program, most definitely. Because after that talk we had, I was hushed from that point on. And I was going stay that way the entire year."
Regarding his arrest, Johnson said: "I let you down a little bit. A lot. I apologize for embarrassing you, and our organization, my teammates."
But Philbin's mind was made up.
"It's not really just (Saturday) night," he said. "It's where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed. I just don't see the mesh right now."
"I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time. It's not like I'm trying to flex my muscle to say, 'I'm the head coach, and let's make an example of Chad Johnson.' It has nothing to do with that.
"It's more about how you fit in, and how we fit in together, and where this thing is heading. I just don't see it being where I thought it would be, or what I hoped it would be. I'm sure it's not good news. It's not good news for us either. But I'm certain you can overcome this thing."
On the endorsement front, Zico posted a statement on its Facebook page saying that "in light of recent events involving Mr. Johnson, we have terminated our relationship."