- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 13, 2000

Although he won't be cutting the neighbors' grass or driving an ice cream truck during the offseason, Washington Redskins guard Tre Johnson is looking for extra income to pay his $50,000 fine for striking an official.

"If [the fine] can be reduced, it would be greatly appreciated. If not, I'll get a summer job," Johnson said. "I lost my composure. It wasn't the right thing to do. It's over."

Johnson will lose $185,294 for inadvertently hitting back judge Bill Leavy during an melee in Saturday's playoff game against the Detroit Lions, including a one-game suspension worth $135,294 next season. The $50,000 fine tied three others as the largest penalty for an on-field incident, and the total $154,000 levied against 23 players was the largest in NFL history.

Saying he never meant to hit the official, Johnson said he was relieved not to be suspended for Saturday's NFC semifinal playoff game against Tampa Bay.

"I was real concerned until [the penalty] came out," he said. "That was my biggest fear, being suspended for the playoff game. No one intentionally [hits] the referee. The referee was just doing his job. It's a matter of happenstance. It wasn't as malicious as it was made out to be."

Many of the 15 Redskins fined, including Johnson, said they will appeal the sanctions imposed Tuesday. Several claimed to be bystanders.

"I wasn't part of the fight," said tight end Stephen Alexander, who was fined $1,500 for entering the fight area. "I didn't throw any punches. It was an expensive fight to watch. I should see Mike Tyson for that."

Said third-string quarterback Casey Weldon, who was fined $5,000 for leaving the bench: "It was instinct to go, but I realized I had no helmet and better get out of there. [Center Cory] Raymer said I got fined $2,500 for looking like a dork going out there and not hitting anybody."

Coach Norv Turner offered no sympathy to his 15 players, who were fined a combined $117,000.

"It's spelled out pretty clear you're not supposed to fight," he said. "It's obvious the league is making it clear to everybody they didn't like what happened."

Quarterback Brad Johnson thought he was unfairly fined more than Detroit defensive end Robert Porcher. Johnson punched Porcher after the latter's late hit set off the fracas. Johnson was fined $12,500 and Porcher $10,000.

"I can't believe I was fined more than Porcher was," Johnson said. "Two of them came after me. I felt like I was trying to protect myself. I'm a quarterback who weighs 225 pounds. He's a lineman who weighs 285 pounds. It's not like I've been in that many fights. They're notorious for hitting quarterbacks."

The fines seemed to increase the team's preparation fever, which Tre Johnson said makes the money well spent.

"We have a definite sense of unity on the team. We watch each other's back," he said. "It's a shame everyone has to be fined, but it makes its positive statements, too."

Turner: Forget Dallas

Turner said he's not interested in the Dallas Cowboys' coaching vacancy despite reportedly being among the favorites to replace Chan Gailey, who was fired Tuesday. Turner, who has two years remaining on his contract and was recently supported by owner Dan Snyder to return next season, said he's remaining in Washington.

"It's unfortunate my name comes up in that discussion," Turner said. "We're in the middle of getting ready for a big playoff game, and I hope to be here for a lot more playoff games."

Draft talk

The Redskins are considering a plan to trade their 12th and 24th overall picks for the San Francisco 49ers' third pick in the April 15-16 draft, according to NFL sources. Redskins personnel director Vinny Cerrato declined comment.

Washington already has the second overall selection but wants both Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Courtney Brown. Cleveland may take receiver Peter Warrick with the first selection, but Washington is willing to take whichever two of the three are available. San Francisco wants to trade down to save money and get more players.

Casserly deal near

The New Orleans Saints could name former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly as their team president and general manager as soon as today. NFL sources said Casserly met with Saints scouts yesterday to discuss his plans for reorganization.

Casserly could not be reached for comment but has confirmed talks with New Orleans and the expansion Houston franchise.

Meanwhile, Redskins passing coordinator Terry Robiskie was among those reportedly being considered for the Saints coaching vacancy. Robiskie said he hasn't been contacted but would like to be considered.

"Would I like a chance? Absolutely. Do I feel like I'm ready? Absolutely," Robiskie said. "Do I deserve to be a head coach? I can't answer that one. I know a lot of good coaches, black and white, that die without being a head coach. It's not always the best coach that gets the opportunity."

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