Sources: Steve Johnson fined $10K
Walker: Johnson's Fine Too Light
Steve Johnson's fine for mocking Plaxico Burress' accidental shooting is too light, especially compared to some of the fines the NFL has handed out to players in the past, James Walker writes. Blog
Sources confirmed to ESPN the amount of the fine, which was earlier reported by The Associated Press.
Johnson declined to confirm whether he had been punished except to say he had an overnight courier envelope from the NFL waiting for him at his locker when he arrived for practice. Johnson left the envelope unopened because he expected to find inside formal notification of his fine.
On his Twitter account, Johnson made light of the envelope by referring to it as "the Random FedEx Package in My Locker" and posting a picture of it.
Johnson said he was done discussing the celebration -- and the national criticism he received as a result of it -- and is instead focusing on looking forward to helping the Bills (5-6) end a four-game slump on Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans (6-5).
"If I do, I get fined. But we've got to move on," he said. "It's the Tennessee Titans. I'm not really worried about a fine right now. It's part of the game. People get fined. But we've still got a football game on Sunday."
Johnson was fined as a result of a celebration in which he mocked Jets receiver Plaxico Burress by mimicking shooting himself in the thigh after scoring on a 5-yard catch late in the first half. Burress served 20 months in prison on a weapons charge after accidentally shooting himself in a New York City nightclub in 2008.
Burress on Wednesday didn't seem fazed by the $10,000 fine. "He can pay for it, he can afford it. That's about it."
Later, Burress was asked if things were smoothed over between the two wide receivers.
"I don't have a problem with Stevie at all."I think he's a very charismatic guy as far as the things that he does as far as celebrations, trying to have fun and bring a different spirit to his team. And I think he's going to continue to grow as a player and a person. He's going to be a great player in this league."
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.
Johnson didn't stop there. He then imitated a jet in flight before crashing to the turf. That was the costly penalty, 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 position to tie the score a little more than 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 on Monday told ESPN Radio in New York that he and Johnson talked and agreed to move on.
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."
On Monday, Johnson said 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."
This isn't the first time Johnson has drawn attention -- and a flag -- after a score.
Last year, he shelled out a combined $15,000 on two fines. 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 mascots do following a New England score -- in a 38-30 loss at New England.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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