12-17-03, 6:50 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Ickey Woods, the man who took touchdown celebrations to a new level, doesn't know why the NFL is upset at Chad Johnson's end-zone antics.
"Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing him show a little more excitement," says Woods, now 15 years removed from inventing The Ickey Shuffle. "From what I've seen, all he does is jump into the stands, so I don't know what all the fuss has been about. I really haven't seen him do anything that would get a fine."
There are reports Johnson has been fined $10,000 for unveiling a sign in the end zone after he scored Sunday, but Johnson said Tuesday night he didn't know anything about a fine. Told Saints receiver Joe Horn was fined $30,000 for pulling a cell phone out of the goal posts Sunday night, Johnson said, "Wow."
Woods, the former Bengals running back whose dance was banished by the NFL to the sidelines in 1990, objects to what Horn did. When he saw Johnson's sign that asked the NFL not to fine him, he understood the sentiments.
"The cell phone is going a little too far. That's self congratulations," Woods said. "I
wanted to do something that could get the fans into the game and get my teammates into the game. Something that is fun for everyone. I can understand what (Johnson) is saying. He just wants to have fun and the league is too tight with stuff. The No Fun League, right?"
Woods thinks the sign is more in the category with the cell phone. He doesn't want to give advice ("He's a grown man,"), but he wouldn't mind seeing Johnson coming up with something simple and consistent. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis sounds the same way.
"It should be spontaneous," Lewis said. "It should be unique to you. If you have to do something, do it every time."
"As fine of a player that he is, Joe Horn has everybody's respect," Lewis said. "He doesn't need to draw attention to himself. What they bring to the game, that's enough. The beauty of the sport is these guys. TV makes the problem. They say, 'That's horrible,' then they keep showing it. They're critical of it in the booth, yet they keep playing it back and showing that. If they wouldn't do that, people would quit doing it."
For the most part, Woods isn't a big fan of the latter-day celebrations. He's split on 49ers receiver Terrell Owens.
"I didn't like the Sharpie," said Woods of the night Owens signed an autograph after scoring. "How does that get the crowd into it? But I like it when he grabbed the pom-pom from the cheerleader. That's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to pump up the crowd and do fun things. But just pulling out a Sharpie, that doesn't do a thing for anybody else."
Woods is loving the Bengals' run and is enjoying watching Johnson play. He made the trip to Pittsburgh last month to watch the win over the Steelers, and said, "I had more fun than I've had in a long time." But he's hesitant to counsel Johnson.
"He's his own man,' Woods said. "He should do his own thing. To each his own. I found something I liked and the fans liked. It was fun."
Lewis said if a coach wants to fine a player for such an offense, he has to go through the NFL Players Association, and indicated it's the league's right to handle those kinds of problems.