Cortland Finnegan's agent is not happy that the Tennessee Titans cornerback is being painted as the villain in the media and the court of public opinion over his client's fight with Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Terry Watson, who represents Finnegan, reacted strongly to an anonymous quote from an NFL general manager on ProFootballTalk.com that referred to the Titans cornerback as an “absolute scumbag” by sending PFT founder Mike Florio an email defending his client and objecting to such comments from an anonymous source.
In the email, Watson sent to Florio regarding the GM's comment, and obtained by TitanInsider, Watson said, “the General Manager that hid in his office and called Cortland an 'absolute scumbag' is a coward. If he wants to share an opinion on a player in the league that is harsh, he can identify who he is or keep his opinion to himself. Additionally, he clearly has no idea what Cortland is about. Cortland simply plays as hard as one can on the field and is a charity fixture in the Nashville community off of it (ARK31.org). Have there been times when he has been too aggressive on the field? The League Office thinks so. Are there other players that have been fined more this year for their actions? Yes.”
Finnegan has drawn $45,000 now in fines after both he and Johnson were hit with $25,000 fines but no suspensions in the wake of Sunday's on-field brawl in Houston. Finnegan has come under considerable scrutiny and developed a reputation for his aggressive style of play even before the altercation with Johnson.
Watson went on to say in the email that, “if this invisible General Manager would like to own up to his cowardly comment regarding Cortland, at a minimum he can reach out to me or Cortland at my number. Or better yet, he can let you write an article with his name next to this ridiculous comment. I'm sure there are many other General Managers that would love to have Cortland play for them.”
Watson also took issue with the way Finnegan being demonized in the matter, even though Johnson threw and landed punches and Finnegan did not.
“Finally, Cortland has been treated like a villain when the wide receiver was the one that acted outside the boundaries of a football game by punching Cortland with his helmet off. No apology through the media after the game can change that. As well, I also find it interesting that no one identified the wide receiver as a likely antagonist from the play before when Cortland is pushed in the back after the play is over and then the receiver is seen on tape yelling obscenities among other things at Cortland,” Watson's email said.
Watson also levied criticism at the media for portraying Finnegan former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who have portrayed Finnegan has being dominated in the game by Johnson. Johnson had nine receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown Sunday. According to Finnegan, it was his first chance to be matched up on him exclusively in going against Johnson.
“Cortland has won his share of battles and then some against the top receivers in this league. The 1 yard TD catch Andre caught was the first TD he's had against Cortland in 9 games between them,” Watson said. “I would urge the media to actually watch the game instead of grabbing the stat sheet after it. Andre's big game was against the other corner for the Titans last year. In the second game last year at Houston, Andre was held to less than 55 yards receiving. In the game Sunday, Andre averaged less than six yards per catch. If that is 'getting worked' as Trent Dilfer has falsely claimed repeatedly the last 36 hours, I think a new definition of the phrase is in order.”
Florio said he is not surprised that Watson has rushed to Finnegan's defense in the matter.
"Terry Watson has every right to express his opinion, and I would be surprised if he didn't defend his client," Florio said. "The fact remains that Finnegan has said he wants to be known as the dirtiest player in the league, a comment that invites criticism of the things he apparently is doing to 'earn' that title."
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