Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is taken off the field on a stretcher during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
When Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley crumpled to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon after colliding with Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, there was a collective gasp across Packers Nation.
We had seen this before.
In fact, it was just a few weeks ago that we had seen Finley take a shot to the head. And while that head injury came just before the Packers bye week, the tight end had an extra week to recover.
This time, it doesn’t even appear that Finley will need the extra week. After having suffered a head and neck injury that required his stay in the hospital overnight for tests, it doesn’t seem the Packers nor their fans will see Finley any time soon.
Jermichael Finley reacts after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Given the severity of this latest injury, Finley will most likely be out of the lineup for multiple weeks. In fact, if Finley makes it back this year at all it might be a minor miracle.
While I have nowhere near a medical degree, one can only speculate that given the nature of the environment in place to protect players, especially when it comes to head and neck injuries, my uneducated guess is that Finley is in for a long recovery. And while he is in a contract year with the Packers, one has to speculate aloud whether Finley will play football again at all for the Packers. Finley has suffered two head injuries over the course of the past month – not a very good situation. In addition, we all remember how affected Finley was when he heard from his young son who said he didn’t want his father to play football any more when he watched him get injured the first time.
One can only guess how his family members are feeling this morning.
Blake Baratz, Finley’s agent, wrote on Twitter Sunday night, “Keep him in your thoughts & be patient.”
Finley’s teammates were also shaken by the injury, especially fellow tight end Andrew Quarless. Here is what he had to say:
"“He couldn’t move at the time (he went down), so I just told him, ‘Just stay here, just lay here, don’t move.'” Quarless is quoted as saying, according to ESPNWisonsin.com. “That look he had in his eyes, that was something that stuck with me. It really hurt me just to see him like that. My brother was out there on the ground. I was the first one there, I tried to help him up, and he just couldn’t get up. That was tough to see, for me to see my brother out there on the ground and I couldn’t do anything about it.”"
Finley is tackled by Cleveland Browns defensive back T.J. Ward (43) and defensive back Tashaun Gipson (39) in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Finley was injured on the play and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Ironically, Finley was having one of the best days of his season. He had caught five balls for 72 yards and had scored one touchdown before going down with the injury. The touchdown he scored was a thing of beauty. He broke three tackles inside the five yard line en route to the score that put the Packers up 7-0 on the Browns.
On another side note, Finley was slapped with a $15,750 fine from the NFL for hitting a defenseless player in the head and neck. Finley has planned to appeal the fine, which was assessed when he hit Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs on a rushing play. On Friday, here is what Finley had to say through his Twitter account: “Thanks To @NFL For The Fine For Playing Football.”
Now we all wonder if Finley will have a chance to play football at all.
Stay tuned …