Thursday, July 17, 2014
No change in Jermichael Finley's status yet
By Rob Demovsky
Free-agent tight end Jermichael Finley has not played since he sustained a bruised spinal cord on Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Nothing has changed between the Green Bay Packers and free-agent tight end Jermichael Finley, who is attempting to continue his career following neck fusion surgery last fall, but he is scheduled to meet with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie for the second time in the last seven weeks.
Perhaps that's why Finley tweeted the following on Thursday morning:
However, an NFL source told ESPN.com that Finley's tweet did not mean the Packers had cleared Finley medically or were in negotiations with him. The source said "there’s nothing going on" with Finley and the Packers in terms of contract talks.
According to USA Today, Finley was expected to undergo more tests this week. It is possible Finley's meeting with McKenzie is to review those results.
Finley, 27, has not played since he sustained a bruised spinal cord on Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns. That injury left him momentarily without movement or feeling in his extremities. Finley underwent surgery on Nov. 14 to fuse together the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae in his neck. That was the same fusion that former Packers safety Nick Collins had following his 2011 neck injury. The Packers released Collins the following offseason because their doctors, including McKenzie, did not believe it was safe for him to continue his career. Collins has not played since.
The surgeon who performed Finley's fusion, Dr. Joseph Maroon, the Pittsburgh Steelers' doctor, has reportedly cleared Finley for football activities. Since becoming a free agent in March, Finley also has visited the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, but neither team offered him a contract.
However, according to USA Today, the Steelers offered Finley a contract that he said included "money [that] ain't what it's supposed to be."
Finley, who completed a two-year, $14 million contract, has a disability insurance policy that could pay him $10 million tax free if he is unable to resume his career.
The Packers don't have a clear-cut starter if Finley does not return. However, rookie third-round pick Richard Rodgers was impressive enough during the offseason practices that he is a strong candidate for the job.