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Roaming charges

Cell-phone celebration costs Horn $30,000; Bengals' Johnson also fined

Posted: Tuesday December 16, 2003 11:18PM; Updated: Tuesday December 16, 2003 11:26PM
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  Joe Horn
Joe Horn said he had no regrets about his now-famous celebration.
AP

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn was fined $30,000 by the NFL on Tuesday for making a choreographed cell-phone call in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the amount of the fine. Horn's agent, Ralph Vitolo, said the player will appeal.

"Fining him is one thing, but to me that's very excessive. This is not a murder case," Vitolo said.

The Saints did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Return specialist Michael Lewis was fined $5,000 for helping orchestrate the stunt, and Horn told Vitolo that he would pay that fine.

After catching the second of four touchdown passes in a 45-7 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, Horn was handed a phone by Lewis, who pulled it out from under the padding used to protect the goal post. Horn was still wearing his helmet when he punched in numbers, put the phone to the earhole and spoke into it for a few seconds.

"Would I take it back? No, no. I knew exactly what I was doing," Horn said after the game.

The Saints were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for the stunt.

Horn was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct for the second time this season and the seventh time since 2000, Aiello said.

Head coach Jim Haslett said the team would not punish Horn, but that he was disappointed in the receiver's "selfish" act.

After San Francisco's Terrell Owens pulled a pen out of his sock and autographed a football after scoring a touchdown in a game, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue sent a memo to all teams warning that such stunts would be punished.

Also Tuesday, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson was fined $10,000 by the NFL for retrieving a sign from behind a snowdrift and holding it up after a 10-yard touchdown catch Sunday. Johnson's sign read: "Dear NFL: Please don't fine me again."

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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