Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan were ejected for fighting in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. Both players' helmets came off as they tangled during a seven-yard run by Derrick Ward, and Johnson landed at least two punches during a chaotic scrum that delayed the game for several minutes.
Though the home crowd gave Johnson a standing ovation as he was escorted off the field, Johnson was remorseful about the incident after the game. The fight was out of character for the four-time Pro Bowler, who's in his eighth season.
"I really don't have anything to say about Cortland," Johnson said. "I would like to apologize to the organization, our owner, and my teammates. What happened out there today was not me. I just lost my cool and I wish that I could take back what happened, but I can't. It's over and done with now. I'm pretty sure that I'll be disciplined for it. When that time comes, I'll find out what it is and have to deal with it from there… I hope that I'm not suspended for the next game."
Last week, Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour hit Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the facemask with an open hand. Seymour was fined $25,000 by the league but was not suspended, and he played this week against the Miami Dolphins.
"Seymour got kicked out last game, right?" Texans right tackle Eric Winston said. "Did he get to play this game? He wasn't (suspended), right? So, (Johnson) should be able to play."
The Texans have a short week before facing the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
"It would be a big blow," quarterback Matt Schaub said of the possibility of losing Johnson for the game. "He's obviously one of our best players and our go-to guy. It remains to be seen what the outcomes are going to be. If that's the case, we have to have guys step up and make plays and find a way to beat Philadelphia on Thursday night. Hopefully, he'll be with us and will be able to move forward."
Johnson said last week that Finnegan's antics have gotten under his skin in previous meetings. The two players exchanged heated words last year in the Texans' 34-31 victory at Tennessee in Week 2.
Those tensions resurfaced and boiled over on Sunday. Johnson said the fight was provoked by "a build-up over plays, and I just lost my cool." He had nine catches for 56 yards and a score before being ejected.
"I think that he was frustrated with what was going on during the game," Johnson said. "He kept doing little things, and I told him, 'Just because you're frustrated, you need to stop what you're doing.' And I guess he thought it was funny.
"He was mad because we exchanged some words. He tried to quick jam me (on the play of the fight) because he thought I wasn't looking. He snatched my helmet off and I snatched his off and it went from there."
Making light of the subject, Texans chairman Bob McNair offered this blunt assessment of the fight after the game:
"I awarded it to Andre on points."