|Bengals' Chad Johnson defends latest touchdown celebration|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 13 September 2007 12:19|
Told that some commentators thought his latest touchdown celebration wasn't very funny, the Cincinnati Bengals receiver said they missed the point.
``I like the critics,'' the Pro Bowl receiver said. ``Those are the people that continue to have me doing the things that I do. For those who take what I did Monday as a joke: It's not funny. There's truth to it.''
After he caught a touchdown pass during a 27-20 win over Baltimore on Monday night, Johnson went to the sideline and pulled out an oversized Hall of Fame blazer. On the back, he had written: H.O.F. 20?? - a reference to his induction.
``Every time I say something, I do it,'' Johnson said. ``All I was doing was letting you know I will be there at some point in 2000-something. I just don't know when. Laugh about it, but I'm dead serious.''
Self-promotion aside, the 29-year-old receiver is more serious this season. He led all NFL receivers in yards last year, but the Bengals failed to make the playoffs with an 8-8 finish. That has become his main motivation this season.
``My focus right now from this point on in my career is getting a ring,'' said Johnson, who has appeared in more Pro Bowls (four) than playoff games (one). ``That's it. I could care less about the numbers right now.''
The only other thing that he's as passionate about are those celebrations.
Johnson's creativity in the end zone - putting with a pylon, administering CPR to a ball, doing a river dance - were part of the impetus for the league to crack down on celebrations.
Now, Johnson has to be careful about his choreography, finding another stage for it - such as the sideline.
Or, maybe the Dawg Pound.
Heading into a game Sunday in Cleveland, the Bengals receiver mused that it might be the best setting yet for one of his touchdown celebrations - dive into the other team's fans.
``I'm serious,'' Johnson said, noting that his pads would protect him. ``You're laughing? I think I'm going to do that. That would be fun. That's entertainment right there.''
If he does it, he's on his own.
``I'm staying away from the Dawg Pound,'' quarterback Carson Palmer said.
CONSIDERING OPTIONS: Jay Cutler figured his option days were over when he left Vanderbilt.
The Denver Broncos ran three such plays at Buffalo and judging by their success won't be in any hurry to eliminate the option from the playbook.
The first time the second-year quarterback pitched out was on second-and-9 from his own 2. It was good for a 33-yard gain before Travis Henry was finally collared by 273-pound defensive end Chris Kelsay, who saved what would have otherwise been a 98-yard touchdown.
Coach Mike Shanahan said he usually won't run the option unless the quarterback did it in college, ``and Jay's first two years at Vanderbilt, that's what they ran.''
Still, the Broncos don't plan on doing it too often because it exposes Cutler to some possible big hits.
``You don't want to make a living doing it if you want to have your quarterback for a long time,'' Shanahan said. ``Usually, they won't last. But Vince Young's been doing it at Tennessee. He's done a great job doing it.''
AFL PRESENCE: Through last Tuesday, 17 current NFL players also played in Arena Football, including two of the indoor league's most recent stars.
Greg White of the Buccaneers was the AFL's Defensive Player of the Year and Lineman of the Year this past season for the Orlando Predators. He set AFL single-season records for sacks with 15 and tackles for loss (17) while appearing in only 14 games. White also led the AFL with six forced fumbles.
Bobby Sippio, who signed with the Chiefs, is one of the most productive offensive players in Arena Football. He caught 125 passes for 1,739 yards and 53 touchdowns while playing in 13 games for the Chicago Rush in 2007. Sippio's 53 touchdowns and 318 points scored led the AFL and rank as the second-best offensive season in league history. He set an AFL record in 2007 by catching five or more touchdown passes in a game seven times.
The other AFL or arenafootball2 graduates in the NFL this year include quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Lang Campbell of Arizona - Campbell is on the Cardinals' practice squad - and Cleo Lemon of Miami; wide receivers Rashied Davis of Chicago, Mike Furrey of Detroit, Ahmad Merritt of Arizona and David Patten of New Orleans; defensive backs Clinton Hart of San Diego and Kevin Kaesviharn of New Orleans; defensive end Khreem Smith of Kansas City; defensive tackle Tony Wragge of San Francisco; guard Andy McCollum of St. Louis; and kickers Rob Bironas of Tennessee; Jay Feely of Miami; and Shayne Graham of Cincinnati.
BIG DONATION: Billionaire Texans owner Bob McNair and his wife, Janice, donated $100 million to the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston this week to recruit top scientists and physicians to study breast cancer, diabetes, pancreatic cancer and neurosciences at the school.
The gift equals the biggest donation in the school's history. Those recruited will be called McNair Scholars and the first two will be brought in before the end of 2008.
``I know the importance of scientific discovery,'' said Bob McNair, who has served on the school's board of trustees since 1994. ``So, really, this gift is to help accelerate scientific discovery and try to find a cure for some of these diseases that our family and friends have suffered from.''
McNair said his wife is a 15-year breast cancer survivor, her father died from pancreatic cancer and they have a granddaughter with juvenile diabetes. He's excited about the impact such a gift could have on the study of these diseases.
``What it does is it puts Baylor College of Medicine in position to go out and look at the star performers,'' he said. ``It's sort of like football and giving a team the money to get the stars that are free agents and go out and sign a bunch of proven performers.''
The school announced that the 35-acre site of the clinic and hospital will be named the McNair Campus of Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, the main boulevard through campus will be renamed McNair Boulevard.
INSTANT IMPACT: Eyebrows raised when Detroit gave free agent Dewayne White a $29 million contract - with $13 million guaranteed - in March because the defensive end had started just 13 games in four seasons for Tampa Bay.
So far, it's looks as though the Lions knew what they were doing.
He was simply dominant in the closing minutes of Detroit's 36-21 win at Oakland, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
``He can rush and he's athletic,'' Lions coach Rod Marinelli said.
Dropping into coverage, White intercepted a pass with one hand and returned it 28 yards to set up a field goal with 1:56 left in the game. On Oakland's next snap, he forced a fumble with a sack and after a Raider got to the football, White forced another turnover and recovered it.
``That was a fun day for me,'' he said. ``It was very satisfying - because we got the win.''
Even though White wasn't known around the league, by fans at least, Marinelli and defensive coordinator Joe Barry were very familiar with him from their years together in Tampa Bay.
White started the last eight games for the Buccaneers last year after Simeon Rice suffered a season-ending injury and he finished with a career-best 52 tackles and tied for the team lead with five sacks.
AP Sports Writers Joe Kay in Cincinnati; Arnie Stapleton in Englewood, Colo.; Kristie Rieken in Houston; and Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.