As Packer fans it seems we come to see injuries as a more common thing then fans of other NFL teams. Why that has played such a prominent role in our teams football history, hopefully one day we will figure it out. Until then, we must flash back to Week 7 of the 2013 season on October 20th, 2013. The Packers were playing the Browns and specifically Finley was having a good game 5 catches, 72 yards, and 1 touchdown. As the game progressed we watched Lacy suffer a concussion early on in the game, which we already felt was a dagger. Little did we know, the real dagger wouldn’t come till later in the game. After a reception Finley was hit and dropped straight to the ground. I think anyone watching from home, or in person dropped what they were doing in awe. We all sit here week after week, cheering, bleeding our teams colors, going to games, losing our voices, but to see the reality of what could happen to a player, an ACTUAL human being (which sometimes we forget that is what they are). As Finley laid on the ground motionless an eerie feeling came across myself. I actually began to tear up as I saw our fellow players praying and Finley being strapped onto the stretcher. Thinking back on it I still get goosebumps.
Then I sit and think about his wife and children that had to endure all of the heart ache on a completely different level. If I chose to spend the rest of my life with someone and something like that happened to them, would I ever want them to do that again? This was an injury that took things outside of the football realm. What if he never walked? What if he couldn’t pick his child up? In hindsight we know now that Finley has every intention of returning to the NFL but will he actually? For the most part people I have talked to have split feelings about the scenario. We most recently watched Jonathan Franklin retired after a brief rookie season from the NFL due to an injury similar to Finley’s. We all know Courtney Finley’s opinion about the situation and that is your life (health) is more important then football. Courtney has made her voice very clear on social media outlets occasionally going on a soapbox and later deleting them. It has also been revealed that Finley’s son does not want him to return to football out of fear that he might injure himself again.
So what do you do if you’re Jermichael Finley? You can go down one avenue and return to the NFL. That is assuming all of his tests he undergoes clear him to play in the NFL once again. You decide that you want to play the sport you are so passionate about, and you also need to continue to make a living for your family. The Packers have re-signed Quarless, drafted Rodgers, and picked up undrafted rookie Colt Lyeria (personally I cannot wait to see him at camp). If Jermichael was to stay with the Packers then they would indeed be stacked at the tight end position no doubt. On the other hand Finley has pursued meetings with other teams initially with Seattle and more recently the 49ers. Will Finley be motivated by staying with the Packers or is he looking to go where the money is? Finley as well has sent mixed signals one day he is putting his house up for sale in Green Bay, the next he’s telling the media he is doing everything in his power to stay a Packer. Thinking about Finley’s return is nice and all but until it is official that he is cleared to play I don’t want to get my hopes up.
Going down the other avenue Finley could is by simply retiring and not returning to play football. While yes playing football is the way that Finley makes a living for his family, we’ve clearly seen other players retire young and become analysts, commentators, etc. I do not think the issue is finances, I think it is Finley’s will and want to play. Finley would be avoiding the situation of reinjuring himself, or even worse possibly becoming paralyzed. Either way whether he returns or not, or where he returns I truly wish him the best and enjoyed what he did for us as a Packer.