When Roger Goodell announced earlier this week that the NFL eased up its celebration penalties, he said he sought advice from “more than 80 current and former players.” Goodell didn’t mention which players he talked to, but now we know at least one of them.
In an appearance on the "B-More Opinionated!" podcast, former receiver Chad Johnson revealed Goodell had reached out to him.
"I knew the rule change was coming. I had talked to Roger a couple of times at length, maybe two or three times before the rule change came out," Johnson said. "He asked my advice on what he could do to be able to loosen the reins on the celebration rule but, at the same time, maintain the respect of the game.”
Johnson told Goodell to let the players be themselves, and it was possible to do so without “losing the integrity of the game.”
A manual retweet from Johnson of Goodell ended up hinting at his involvement with the commissioner:
Following conversations with dozens of players, we’re making changes to our celebrations policy: https://t.co/1NLdEJjsGD— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) May 23, 2017
Johnson took the time to revisit some of his old celebrations on Twitter, after the changes were announced.
His favorite was when he took control of a TV camera against the Tennessee Titans in November 2007:
Best celebration ever: "putting the main tv camera on all the homies out of Liberty City so they got some tv time" pic.twitter.com/WdnD8xpnMu— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) May 23, 2017
He also reminded us of the time he held up a letter to the NFL in 2003 against the San Francisco 49ers, asking to not be fined again.
Johnson was fined $10,000 for holding up the sign.
After that game, he said, "The fine was ridiculous. It doesn't matter. It's OK. I've got two more games left [this season] — that's two more fines, then I'm finished for the rest of my career with the fines."
Johnson was not finished with getting fines over the course of his career. In 2009, he was fined $30,000 for wearing a mock poncho and sombrero next to the bench after a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. During the 2010 season, he was fined for tweeting during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Johnson’s former coach, Marvin Lewis, was not a supporter of the rule change, telling reporters he was “not for that at all,” because he thought it would set a bad example for kids. Johnson laughed about Lewis’ reaction to the change while on the podcast.
"Listen, if it was a team game, which it is, because there are 11 people on the field, then all 11 players should be paid equally the same," Johnson said.
For Goodell to reach out to a player like Johnson, who received his fair share of fines during his playing days, is smart. But perhaps Johnson should see some of that money back for being a consultant to the commissioner.