Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan opened up even more about the proceedings of the fight between himself and Andre Johnson on Wednesday.
TitanInsider spoke to Finnegan on Monday evening, but with him speaking out more on the matter that landed him a $25,000 fine, here are some of the highlights of Finnegan's media session on Wednesday. (Note: The questions are paraphrased.)
Q: Are you surprised that Johnson wasn't suspended by the NFL?
Finnegan: I am. I'm a little bit surprised. The reputation, and I knew once I turned on the TV after the game, the commentators and people were talking in and out of games, and they were saying he was a great guy and how I wasn't a great guy. I knew right then, it was probably gonna be levied as the same type of fine.
Q: Did you try and taunt Johnson during the game?
Finnegan: At no point in this game did I feel like that I was trying to taunt him.
Q: You said if the situation had been reversed that you would have been suspended for punching him. But you got a letter from the league telling you to tone things down, right?
Finnegan: No, I never got a letter. I never got that letter. Did you get a letter? So, if you didn't get a letter, I didn't get a letter either. So neither one of us got a letter telling me to tone it down. I've never received a letter from the NFL.
Q: Had you toned your actions down prior to Sunday?
Finnegan: I really believe so. Different fines throughout the beginning of the year were so different with the Denver thing, and I realized that the NFL is changing, and I get that, and I want to change with it. I didn't feel like I had a problem with anything. I could even be honest with you that if Andre was watching film up to this game, he saw no evidence of anything he'd have to worry about as far anything extra.
Q: Did you say “Watch this” right before the play that initiated the fight?
Finnegan: Yeah, what's that mean? I'm still trying to figure that out. It just sounds good. It's like whip cream on top of a pie. I don't know. Regardless of if 'Watch this' was ever a statement, because sometimes I don't remember, 'Watch this' never meant Andre hitting me in the head three times.
Q: How do you feel like it will go with Johnson when the Texans visit here on Dec. 19?
Finnegan: Again, I'm gonna play football. I'm not gonna retaliate by any stretch of the imagination. I'm gonna play good, fast and physical football. I'm not gonna back down. It's gonna be a clean football game. We've got Jacksonville right now, so we'll talk about that when it gets here.
Q: Why didn't you throw a punch?
Finnegan: You don't do that. It means more to your team not to throw a punch. You're being a role model. Kids are watching. I want to play hard. I want to play fast. I want to be known as scrappy, but at no point do I want to throw a punch.
Q: Did the league set a bad precedent with only fining and not suspending Johnson?
Finnegan: That's what they're gonna have to deal with. If a guy is a good guy, and he hits a guy that's known as an antagonizer, it's $25K. I don't think that's the bar they wanted to set. I think they'll look at it on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How would you have fared if you had gone toe-to-toe with him?
Finnegan: I can only tell you this. He hit me three times with his best stuff, and it didn't phase me.
Q: Does the $25,000 fine hurt or is it just a drop in the bucket?
Finnegan: Asbolutely it hurts. You have a family. Just the whole thing for you to get hit in the wallet and be known as a repeat offender is a tough thing.
Q: Does it bother you that people call you dirty and cheap?
Finnegan: It doesn't bother me any really. That's just a word that used loosely, and ignorantly sometimes. But at the end of the day that have been fined more than me are doing crazy things, and they never get that word linked to them.
Q: What about the anonymous general manager who supposedly referred to you as a “scumbag?”
Finnegan: I'm playing for the Titans and I love the Titans. If it ever came about, I would only be auditioning for 30 teams, not 31.
Q: If it had been Peyton Manning who had been on the receiving end of punches without a helmet, would that player be suspended?
Finnegan: You know the answer to that. C'mon now. You know that.
Q: How many times have you been fined this year?
Finnegan: Three times I believe. One of them has been dropped, one of them reduced, so one-and-a-half.