Detroit Lions  

 

Lions' Johnson hoping for second chance to celebrate a TD

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Calvin Johnson is hinting at a special end-zone celebration this weekend -- as long as he scores a touchdown that's allowed to stand, of course.

The Detroit Lions' star wideout had what looked like a game-winning touchdown catch ruled incomplete last week, and the call led to much discussion about the NFL rule for completing a reception. Bill Polian, the NFL competition committee chairman, backed the referees' call and said it was easily understood, but Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. told a Detroit radio station that the rule is "more cryptic than the Dead Sea Scrolls."

Johnson was coy when asked if he had anything planned for the Lions' Sunday home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in response to the controversy.

"I've thought about it. You'll have to find out, though, if I get in the zone," Johnson said Friday with a laugh.

Fellow receiver Nate Burleson revealed a little more -- but not much.

"We've been talking, chatting," Burleson told reporters. "Hopefully you guys will get to see it. I'm not going to give you any hints or clues as to what it is, but I know you guys will like it."

With his Lions trailing the Chicago Bears 19-14 last weekend, Johnson leaped to snag a pass from Shaun Hill in the end zone and got both feet and one knee on the ground before putting the ball on the grass and beginning to celebrate. But the pass was ruled incomplete because Johnson didn't maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch.

The Bears held on to win.

"It's over with -- 24-hour rule," Johnson said. "What happened last week doesn't have any effect on what happens this week."

Carl Johnson, the NFL's director of officiating, suggested the receiver might have been better off handing the ball to an official before celebrating, a belief that Polian echoed Wednesday in his NFL Network appearance. Ford doesn't agree with that interpretation, telling WJR-AM on Friday that he has asked the league to review the rule.

"The thing is, the game is for the fans," Ford said, according to The Detroit News. "If every fan in America sees that and thinks it's a touchdown and then they're told it's not, then it's really not playing to the fans at all.


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"We should be celebrating the fact that we're 1-0, with a great comeback on the road with a backup quarterback," he added.

Calvin Johnson no doubt will be more careful with the ball next time, but the disappointment of last week doesn't appear to be holding him or Burleson back in their plans to have a little fun.

"This is what we do when we go home, if you guys are curious. We don't go home and get in the playbook," Burleson jokingly said. "We go home and look in the mirror and practice our end-zone dances."

In a season in which the Cincinnati Bengals -- with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco -- might try to corner the market on flashy celebrations, these two Lions receivers are hoping to make their own mark.

"We've got better stuff than that. The Ochocincos and T.O.s, they've got the old-school celebrations," Burleson said. "We've got the new-school stuff."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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