NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL fined Houston’s Andre Johnson and Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan $25,000 each Monday for their fight in Sunday’s game, but is not suspending them.
The Texans’ star wide receiver and Titans cornerback slugged it out in the fourth quarter of the Texans’ 20-0 victory.
Finnegan set off the brawl by jabbing at Johnson’s neck and face mask at the line of scrimmage. Johnson ripped off Finnegan’s helmet and landed at least two punches to Finnegan’s head and neck. The two spun each other, and Finnegan tore off Johnson’s helmet before players and referees intervened.
Johnson apologized after the game, and Finnegan has not spoken about the incident.
“I would like to apologize to the organization, our owner, and my teammates,” Johnson said. “What happened out there today was not me. I just lost my cool and I wish that I could take back what happened, but I can’t. It’s over and done with now.”
This is the second time they scuffled. Last season, Johnson was fined $7,500 for taking Finnegan to the ground by the face mask.
The Texans (5-6) play at Philadelphia on Thursday, and were concerned that their Pro Bowl receiver may be suspended. Johnson was expected to be available to comment after an evening practice.
The Titans (5-6) host Jacksonville on Sunday.
Finnegan was fined for personal fouls in three consecutive games earlier this season and was warned by the league after the third incident to watch his behavior after the whistle.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the NFL’s competition committee, spoke with league officials earlier Monday. Fisher said in his opinion Finnegan didn’t throw a punch, but did get Johnson’s face mask.
“I have very strong opinions about the fact I think he should not be suspended,” Fisher said of Finnegan. “As far as what the league decides to do, that’s a league decision.
“It’s an unfortunate thing that happens. You’ve got two very talented, good football players competing, and it’s just very unfortunate. It’s not good for our game and I’m just disappointed that type of thing happens on the playing field.”