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Sources: Steve Johnson facing NFL fine

The NFL will likely fine Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson for his simulated gun action that mimicked the self-inflicted wound once suffered by New York Jets receiver Plaxico Burress, league sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

The league prohibits players from making gestures with simulated weapons.

Johnson's much-criticized celebration came immediately after the Bills' top receiver scored with 2:06 left in the first half to put the Bills up 14-7.

Using his hands as pistols, Johnson mimicked shooting himself in the thigh. That was directed at Burress, who wound up serving 20 months in prison for shooting himself in a New York City nightclub in 2008.

Johnson didn't stop there. He then imitated a jet in flight before crashing to the turf. That proved particularly costly, because he was flagged 15 yards for going to the ground.

The Bills blew a squib kick on the next kickoff, leading to the Jets capitalizing on a short field to tie the score a little over a minute later.

Johnson said he was unaware he would be penalized, and added he regrets making fun of Burress.

He's exchanged texts and apologized to Burress, adding that "everything's cool" between the two.

Burress told ESPN Radio in New York that he and Johnson talked and agreed to move on.

"I don't look at him as any less than he was before. And I don't want everybody to say he's a bad guy because he made a mistake. I've made a few in my life," Burress said. "I have a lot of respect for him as a player. And I think he's going to rebound from that."

Although Burress declined to slam Johnson, the celebration has made Johnson into a lightning rod for criticism.

Jets coach Rex Ryan called Johnson's celebration "ridiculous" and former NFL player-turned-TV-analyst Rodney Harrison called the receiver's antics "dumb" and "immature."

Bills coach Chan Gailey said Monday he was still bothered by Johnson mocking Burress, but said he'll leave it to the NFL on whether further discipline is warranted.

"If I benched everybody for every dumb mistake that was made, there wouldn't be any coaches or players out there because we've all made dumb mistakes," Gailey said. "Everybody gets happy about scoring. I don't want him to not like it. But at the same time, you've got to be under control."

Johnson said he's unfazed by the criticism, but a conversation with Gailey has led him to rule out further post-touchdown celebrations.

"He was telling me I have to be smarter. I've got to be more aware of the situations and rules," Johnson said. "I'll listen to every word that he says. That's my coach."

It's been a tough 24 hours for Johnson. His end-zone skit overshadowed what had been an entertaining back-and-forth game and cost the Bills crucial momentum in a 28-24 loss.

Johnson, who finished with eight catches for 75 yards, also failed on several chances to redeem himself. He had two passes go off his hands -- including one in which he was wide open over the middle at the Jets 20-yard line -- during the Bills' last drive in the final minute.

This isn't the first time Johnson's drawn attention -- and a flag -- after a score.

Last year, he shelled out a combined $15,000 after twice being fined by the NFL. That included a $10,000 fine and a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration for falling back to the ground after pretending to shoot off a rifle -- mimicking what the Patriots' Minutemen do following a New England score -- in a 38-30 loss at New England.

Johnson wasn't the only receiver to earn a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty on Sunday. Seattle's Golden Tate was flagged for putting his arms out to his side and falling backward after a 15-yard touchdown catch in a loss to Washington.

"It's a young guy's mistakes," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Tate's penalty. "He hasn't scored enough touchdowns yet to figure that out. He'll figure it out."

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore has reached the end zone enough times to know what to do.

"If you're going to celebrate, you should celebrate off the field and just celebrate with your team," said Gore, noting the only additional thing he does is pay tribute to his late mother, Lizzie Gore. "I point up to my mom. That's it, let her know I know she's watching over me. ... Every time I get in the end zone I want to give her that."

Titans coach Mike Munchak had not yet seen Johnson's celebration, but said he made sure to remind his players of the rules before the season.

"I've talked about that: 'Let's not do that. You scored the touchdown. You got enough attention,' " Munchak said. "We haven't had a problem. Hopefully, it'll stay that way. Hopefully, nobody gets any ideas."

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came to Johnson's defense.

"I think Stevie is the one that probably took the penalty the hardest," Fitzpatrick said. "For us, we have his back 100 percent. It's not an issue. And I know he's going to be out there giving his all next Sunday."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.