The buzz surrounding the smackdown Andre Johnson put on Cortland Finnegan has yet to subside, and for the first time the Titans cornerback has addressed the incident and the $25,000 fines for both players that followed.
Finnegan touched on a number of topics surrounding the brouhaha during an appearance on 104.5 The Zone, including the fact he’ll appeal his fine. Here are a few of the highlights.
1. Finnegan believes the play should have been over once his helmet came off, something he says is an unwritten rule in the NFL.
“As a respect issue, when your helmet comes off for either player, or for both, the play is over. That’s respect through the NFL. Did I want it to escalate into that? Absolutely not. That’s not what I play the game for. Yes, I play it passionately. At a point he snapped and he started throwing blows.”
2. Finnegan said he was conscious not to throw punches and believes Johnson should be suspended.
“He got my helmet off and I got his. To me, that’s the end of the play. This happens numerous times. Once the helmet is off, it’s over with, this is not hockey. This is the NFL. It’s crazy to me to see people condoning this, like I got what I deserved. So be it. … This is the NFL, not the NHL, and it is a higher standard. That’s the NHL, they fight and they get penalties for that. In the NFL that’s not even heard of. You do that and you are suspended, hands down. That is what I have been taught, that is what everyone knows. That’s one thing you don’t do, because you set the bar for everyone watching.”
3. Because of his reputation as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, Finnegan believes he would have earned a suspension had the roles been reversed.
“The only thing that upsets me … because I really don’t care about getting hit. I’m hard-headed as it is. I’m not worried about that. But if you reverse that, and it’s me … I have a game suspension. … It’s not the action that we’re after anymore. It’s the actual person. It happens to be that I’m the instigator. I’m that guy. So I’m OK with that.”
“If you reversed it, by any stretch of the imagination, you’d get me here suspended.”
Surely Finnegan, who also apologized for the manner in which he left the field, has his own point of view, but he does bring up an interesting issue regarding what happens when helmets come off. The league currently has no written rule that I’m aware of about when it happens away from the ball, only in regards to ball carriers.