Johnson, Lions’ receivers cooking up alternative TD celebrations

Calvin Johnson is expected to make his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Andrew Weber

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Don’t look for Calvin Johnson to pull a Jimmy Graham and try to challenge the NFL’s new rule against dunking the football over the goal post.

"I’m not letting Goodell get in my pockets," Johnson said, referring to Graham, a tight end for New Orleans who dunked twice in a preseason game last week, being fined by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell.

Johnson and new teammate Golden Tate are working on a different way to celebrate their touchdowns that isn’t so costly.

"Golden, a couple of the guys were talking about coming up with something," Johnson said. "You might see something out of the receivers. We’ll see."

Johnson is expected to make his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field.

"I’m looking forward to being out there with the guys," he said.

Most of the starters are likely to play into the second half, but the Lions might get Johnson, who is coming off knee and finger injuries from last season, out a little earlier for precautionary reasons.

"It’s not up to me so I’m just going to play until coach pulls me," he said.

It’s the first time Lions fans will get to see Johnson in the team’s new offensive system with newcomers such as Tate and rookie tight end Eric Ebron around him.

"I’m as curious as anybody else," Johnson said.

The Lions have been careful not to overwork him during training camp because of his recent injury problems as he enters his eighth NFL season.

"It’s night and day," Johnson said of his current health compared to last year. "I was hurting at the end of the season as well as everybody else. It’s a long, grueling season.

"This is the best we’re going to feel all year so we’ve got to take advantage of it."

Johnson confirmed that he’ll wear custom split for a finger injury that hampered him last season.

"It doesn’t affect me," he said. "Doctors did a great job making the thing. It doesn’t affect the way I catch the ball. We’re going to give it a go and see how it feels."