Finnegan, Johnson Fined, Avoid Suspensions, After Fight in NFL

Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans and Cortland Finnegan of the Tennessee Titans said they were relieved to avoid being suspended by the National Football League after fighting in a game this weekend.

Johnson, a wide receiver, and Finnegan, a cornerback, were fined $25,000 each for the fracas in the fourth quarter of the Texans’ 20-0 victory two days ago, league spokesman Corry Rush said in an e-mail.

“I’m happy that I’m not suspended, but at the same time, I’m not happy about my actions,” Johnson told reporters yesterday after practice. “It’s not something I’m proud about. I have to suffer the consequences for my actions.”

The fight started when Finnegan, playing about a 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.

“Did I want it to escalate into that? Absolutely not. That’s not what I play the game for,” Finnegan said last night on Nashville’s WGFX-FM, the Titans’ flagship station. “At a point he snapped and he started throwing blows.”

Johnson, who had nine catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the Texans’ win, appeared to connect on two punches to Finnegan’s head and missed on an uppercut before officials intervened.

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 during a three-week span earlier this season, Fox Sports said.