Chad Johnson has just been released from jail in Florida for slapping his attorney on the ass last week -- and get this ... on his way out, he called his judge a "blessing in disguise" for throwing him back in the slammer.
It's pretty remarkable -- Chad says he's THANKFUL for the time he's had in the pokey the last week, telling reporters, "I had a lot of time to reflect. A lot of time to think about where I've been, where I am now, and where I'm going."
But the craziest part ... he says, "A lot of people have tried to get me to slow down in life. Coaches, my agent, my lawyer. And there was one person that was able to do it. And that was my judge Ms. McHugh."
He added, "Little does she know, I love her to death. Basically what she's been is a blessing in disguise."
Which is crazy because practically everyone else on the planet felt like she overreacted big time.
As for Chad's first move out of jail, he says he's beelining straight for McDonald's -- watch the video to hear his order.