NFL Fistfight May Prompt Discipline for Texans' Johnson, Titans' Finnegan

Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans said he expects to be disciplined by the National Football League after an on-field fistfight with Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

Wide receiver Johnson and Finnegan may face fines or suspensions for the incident during the fourth quarter of the Texans 20-0 win yesterday. Both players were ejected.

“I just lost my cool and I wish I could take back what happened, but I can’t,” Johnson told reporters. “I’m pretty sure that I’ll be disciplined for it. When that time comes, I’ll find out what it is and have to deal with it.”

Johnson had nine catches for 56 yards and a touchdown yesterday, when he became the first player in NFL history to catch at least 60 passes in each of his first eight seasons.

After receiving a game ball from Texans coach Gary Kubiak in the locker room, Johnson apologized to his teammates, fans and the organization. Finnegan didn’t speak to the media after the game.

The incident started when Finnegan, playing about one yard off the line of scrimmage, jumped forward when the ball was snapped and shoved Johnson in the facemask with both hands.

Johnson grabbed Finnegan’s facemask, tore his helmet off and grabbed him by the jersey as the players swung each other around. The Titans’ cornerback responded by pulling Johnson’s helmet off and flinging it to the ground. Johnson then tossed Finnegan to the ground and took three swings.

Exchanged Words

“He was mad because we exchanged some words,” Johnson said. “He snatched my helmet off and I snatched his off and it went from there.”

Johnson appeared to connect on two punches to Finnegan’s head and missed on an uppercut before officials intervened.

“It’s out of character for me,” Johnson said. “I hope that I’m not suspended for the next game.”

Houston (5-6) next plays at Philadelphia on Dec. 2. Tennessee (5-6) hosts Jacksonville on Dec. 5.

Johnson was fined $7,500 by the NFL last season for pulling Finnegan to the ground by his face mask during a scuffle in a 34-31 Houston win. Finnegan was fined three times over a three- week span earlier this season, Fox Sports said.

“It’s not good for the game,” said Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who is co-chairman of the NFL’s competition committee. “You don’t want to see a player slug another player like that.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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