Former Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub indicated that the fine of his former teammate Andre Johnson for fighting with Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan was reportedly paid for by players across the NFL who despised Finnegan.
Schaub appeared on the “Pardon My Take” podcast and offered insight on the brawl that took place during the fourth quarter of the Texans-Titans game on Nov. 28, 2010.
The seeds for the fight between Johnson and Finnegan had been brewing for at least a couple of years, according to Schaub, with the fight the culmination of that animosity.
“They were playing their third-string quarterback,” Schaub said. “We handled them defensively. We ran the football. We did whatever we wanted offensively and it just got to that point where Cortland was talking to our sideline, and then Andre had just had enough.
“It takes a lot to rattle Andre Johnson, but you could tell in the huddle. He was telling the official when we were getting in the huddle before that play, because it had been going a couple plays before that, and he (Johnson) looked at him (the official), and he goes, ‘Something’s about to happen.’
“I remember we ran a run play away from it, and so I handed off and I’m carrying out my keep fake, my boot fake away from it, and I just turn and I see ‘Dre just has him just locked up, rips his helmet off and just gives him a…I was standing there just giving him an ovation.
“I never loved it, but it had been years in the making, and we were getting texts from all different guys across the league that we knew saying, ‘Thank you, finally.’ Got a little fine, but I think that got taken care of by guys all over the league.”
The fine mentioned by Schaub that was assessed by the league was $25,000 for each player, with each of them also being ejected from the contest
The animosity directed at Finnegan was because of his history of reported cheap shots on receivers, with Johnson’s payback giving fellow receivers the motivation to use their own money to support his effort.
Johnson spent 14 years in the NFL and eventually ended his career as a member of the 2016 Titans. Finnegan’s NFL career had ended the year before, but his tenure with the Titans came to a close after the 2011 season.
The numbers that Johnson put up during his career may eventually put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but for at least one game, he was also a success when it came to fighting on the field.