- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Tre Johnson learned the hard way the high cost of throwing the last punch $185,294 as the NFL imposed the largest fine in history for a brawl.

The Washington Redskins guard was fined $50,000 and suspended for the opening game of the 2000 season by the NFL yesterday for his role in the brawl during the Redskins' 27-13 playoff victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday at FedEx Field.

Johnson, who inadvertently struck an official during the fracas, will lose the amount of the fine plus one-seventeenth of his $2.3 million salary, or $135,294, for the one-game suspension. Johnson, however, will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Saturday's NFC semifinal playoff game.

A total of 23 players were fined a combined $154,000 for the brawl. It was the largest total fine in NFL history, surpassing the $145,500 levied against 35 Houston and Pittsburgh players in 1996.

Johnson's $50,000 fine equaled an NFL record. He was fined $30,000 and suspended by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue for striking back judge Bill Leavy. NFL Director of Football Operations Gene Washington fined Johnson $20,000 for fighting.

"Fighting is not part of the NFL game," Washington said. "We simply will not tolerate it."

Johnson could not be reached for comment.

The brawl started when Lions defensive end Robert Porcher hit Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson after a play in the third quarter. The quarterback threw Porcher to the ground. Several Lions piled on top, and several Redskins jumped in to defend Brad Johnson.

Tre Johnson tossed several Lions players off Brad Johnson, but did not stop fighting when officials stepped in. Tre Johnson knocked off Leavy's cap while swinging at his opponents.

"After deliberately engaging in conduct that directly violated the playing rules by fighting, you then attempted to resume fighting after that order," Tagliabue wrote in a letter to Johnson. "As a result, you struck a game official in what can only be described as knowing and deliberate conduct in complete disregard for both the rules of play and the safety of game officials on the field."

Fifteen Redskins and eight Lions were fined. For the Redskins, Brad Johnson was fined $12,500 and center Cory Raymer, guard Keith Sims and offensive tackle Kipp Vickers $7,500 each for fighting. Reserve quarterback Casey Weldon, fullback Mike Sellers, safety Leomont Evans and fullback Larry Centers were fined $5,000 each for leaving the bench. Receivers Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell were fined $3,000 each and running back Skip Hicks, offensive tackle Jon Jansen and tight ends Stephen Alexander and James Jenkins $1,500 each for unnecessarily entering the area of the fight.

For the Lions, Porcher was fined $10,000 and defensive end Tracy Scroggins and defensive tackle James Jones $7,500 each for fighting. Safety Ron Rice, linebacker Stephen Boyd and cornerback Bryant Westbrook were fined $3,000 each and defensive tackle Luther Ellis and safety Mark Carrier $1,500 each for unnecessarily entering the area of the fight.

Sims said the fines were worth it because of the need to protect the quarterback.

"When someone goes after your quarterback you have to protect him," Sims said.

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