Johnson fined $5,000 for 'putt' after TD
PITTSBURGH -- It may not alter whatever plans he is harboring for Sunday's game here, but Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson had again been reminded that, while his touchdown celebrations are entertaining to some, the NFL considers them a nuisance.
The league has fined Johnson $5,000 for his antics in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens, when he grabbed an end zone pylon and used it to "putt" the football several yards after scoring on a 54-yard touchdown pass. The action, the league apprised Johnson, violated its policy against prolonged, excessive and premeditated displays.
A league spokesman declined to say whether the fine -- a pittance for Johnson, given his $1 million base salary for 2005 -- was the first this year against him.
Johnson suggested this week that, if he scores on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a key AFC North matchup, his choreographed celebration will be his best ever. This week, Johnson wore a Terrible Towel as a bib while eating lunch in the locker room, a clear jab at the Steelers.
The colorful wide receiver has displayed a variety of celebrations after scoring this year, including a recent one in which he feigned proposing marriage to a Bengals cheerleader. Despite several admonitions from the league, and even Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, the clever Johnson continues to plan a different celebration every week.
Johnson has been fined on multiple occasions in past seasons by NFL officials. In 2003, it is believed he accumulated about $60,000 in fines, levied because of violations of the NFL uniform guidelines and excessive end zone antics.
In December of 2003, after having been fined several times already, Johnson displayed a placard that read, "Dear NFL, please don't fine me anymore," after a touchdown catch. He had hidden the sign in a snow drift behind the end zone at Paul Brown Stadium.
Previously that season, Johnson was fined for the so-called "throat slash" gesture, which is banned by the NFL, and for posing with teammate Peter Warrick for a fake photograph after a touchdown.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.