Jermichael Finley Receives Medical Clearance

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Packers TE Jermichael Finley
Finley’s return to football took a step forward when he received his first medical clearance this week

Free agent and former Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley received some good news today.  He was medically cleared by the neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon, who performed his neck fusion surgery last year.  The surgery was to the C3 and C4 vertebrae and such a procedure has ended many NFL careers before Finley.

If Finley truly wants to resume his NFL career, this is a step in the right direction.  It is also, however, a relatively small step.  Maroon’s clearance is one thing.  Finley still needs to be cleared by a team doctor before he can seriously think about a return to football.

Finley met with the Packers medical staff earlier this week.  No tests were done and Finley did not work out for the team.  This was more of an informal discussion and meeting.  The Packers have expressed interest in Finley’s return to the team if he is cleared and able to play.  Head coach Mike McCarthy recently stated that he sees Finley as a Green Bay Packer and would certainly welcome him back to the offense.

While that sounds great in theory, there are still hurdles to be cleared and decisions to be made by the Packers.  Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette tweeted the news about Finley’s clearance and made the point that this doesn’t mean a return to the Packers is imminent.

Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, indicated that Finley has a meeting scheduled with a team later this week but would not reveal who, at the team’s request.  There is still interest in Finley among NFL circles.  The Packers have proven to take a more conservative approach when dealing with players returning from neck injury.  Perhaps another team may be willing to take the bigger gamble sooner.

Beyond the medical side of this equation is the potential contract that Finley would be looking for.  Just taking a stab here, but Finley has never been the type to question his ability.  Neck injury or not, he is likely going to see himself as the same player who started out last season for the Packers.  That also means he will be looking for a decent paycheck.  The Packers have some other areas of concern when it comes to their current cap space, which should be around $12 million after rookie contracts are finalized.  If the stars align and the two sides find themselves at the bargaining table, the Packers will have to decide what that paycheck should be in a green and gold uniform.

As has been mentioned many times before, Finley’s injury was very similar to that which former Packers safety Nick Collins suffered.  The question is, do the Packers and their medical staff see the same risk in returning a tight end as they did a safety?  That remains to be seen.  Some may cite safety Sean Richardson’s return last season as proof that it can happen.  Keep in mind that Richardson’s injury was lower on his neck and less likely to cause further problems with him resuming his playing career.

It’s hard to argue against wanting Finley on the field for the Packers offense.  With him, the offense opens up quite a bit more than without him.  Even when he wasn’t the intended target, defenses had to account for Finley and either he or another of Green Bay’s offensive weapons had a great chance of making a play.

On the other hand, is it time for the Packers to move on and plan for life after Finley?  That is left up to the team and frankly, I’m glad it’s not my decision to make.  There’s Finley the football player, which I’d love to see back out there.  Then there’s Finley the man, husband, father and human being.  He has a lot of life ahead of him and surely has to know the risks that appear before him if he does return to football.

Finley himself said, after suffering a concussion early last season, that he didn’t want his own son to play football.  He also reportedly has an insurance policy that could pay him up to $10 million, tax-free, if he is unable to resume his career.  I don’t know all of the specifics of that policy and what the requirements are, but it would seemingly take him a few more seasons of ramming into defenders to earn that kind of money.

The timeline is still an unknown but Maroon’s clearance of Finley today is a big step towards the final outcome.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • Big T

    Lets hope another team offers him big money and has to deal with the disappointment. I have a feeling that Teddy might give his boy some money and then act stupid when it doesn’t pan out.

  • Big T

    What is the Dr.s definition of “medical clearance?” The vertebrae that I fused together will not come apart, however, he may become quadriplegic if he takes a blow to the head.

    • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

      That’s the scare Big T.

    • Stroh

      Its part of being medically cleared to play, that he isn’t at a much greater risk of injury. We don’t know for certain if this clearance is necessarily clearance to play, work out or just daily activities. If its really cleared to play, the fact that the Steelers team Dr who did the surgery and cleared him should carry a lot of weight. But it still comes down to each team having to make their own judgement.

  • Tarynfor12

    The Packers had OTA’s today and was open to the public and though there should be things worth talking about,we get another useless article that simply regurgitates the same already known facts about Finley.

    The Steelers Dr cleared him and yet his visit to Green Bay had no medical reasons attached to it…

    Newsflash..upon visiting an unknown facility,it was heard that he (Finley)did indeed have his toenails clipped with no discomfort to the neck fusion…thus the possibility this may lend credence to why the Packers still have a locker with his name on it.The Packers medical staff have not made a statement about this event but one should assume they are aware of it and are weighing carefully its merit on a decision that likely will not come for weeks.

    • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

      Taryn, we went through this last week. This is a Packers website. Any Packers-related news will be shared. Newsflash: the first clearance of any kind for Finley came TODAY. That’s not regurgitated information, it’s NEW because no other official medical clearance of any kind had happened yet!

      It may sound like everything else that you’re reading about Finley but consider who has been saying “he’s already been cleared” or reporting as such. Not the credible sources that we get our information from (I can’t verify the toenail portion).

      I don’t control what or when the news comes out, only that it gets shared. If I’m the 4th different site that is sharing this “old” information, then come here first next time!:):)

      OTA recaps and info coming tomorrow. Gotta save something to bring you back and hopefully get your out of your funk!

    • Thomas Hobbes

      “The Packers had OTA’s today and was open to the public and though there should be things worth talking about”

      So why are you talking about this then?

  • Joe

    There’s nothing funny, nothing to joke about, when it comes to Finley’s situation. For his sake and the sake of his family, I wish he would call it quits and go on with his life. If he did say he wouldn’t want his own son playing football, he should heed that advice himself. Thank you Mr. Finley for being a Packer. We loved to watch you play. Please leave it all behind and have a wonderful life.

  • Kris Burke

    Nothing against the Steelers but until Dr. McKenzie gives the OK I am in doubt. Dude’s a great doctor.

  • Archie

    I assume this means that if any team offers him any contract, his insurance policy loses its cash value. If so, that won’t be a stumbling block to negotiations. So he is meeting with an unknown team later this week. Could be the Patriots or the Seahawks. Finley and TT are odd bedfellows to say the least. I was surprised when TT gave him the $14MM contract last time around. He’s older now and damaged goods. We all know TT will lowball him and as soon as he does, it’s over in GB. Look for him to be a Seahawk or Patriot very soon, with an incentive laden contract. TT reached for Rodgers so he didn’t have to overpay Jerk-Michael. Probably a dumb think to do but that’s the path he chose. Let’s hope Bostick and Lyerla pan out because we know Q is not the answer and Rodgers will be lucky to be as good as Q.

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      If any team doesn’t low ball him this 1st season their crazy. The policy is also written where if he ever plays again, he doesn’t get a dime. The policy is a tax exempt policy for $10 million. It’s retire and collect, or play and bye bye policy.

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        But it is NOT “retire and collect” .. It’s be deemed unable to play because of injury and collect.

        Finley doesn’t control having the choice to take the payout — teams being willing (or unwilling) to offer a contract do.

        • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

          Excuse me, wrong choice of words. Actually if you look at some of the different write ups you get a variety answers.

          http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/05/29/agent-jermichael-finley-has-received-clearance-from-his-doctor/

          This was one of several write ups that basically said if Finley decides not to play at the end of the day, that it’s to dangerous, HE COLLECTS. Which basically means he does have some control.

          • Ed Schoenfeld

            Thanks for an answer with a link.

            Though that article sems to be reporting a statement by Finley’s agent, not the language in the insurance contract.

            I agree that Finley has the ultimate decision on whether he wants to play in the NFL, I’m just suggesting that his collecting on the insurance contract depends on the exact language in the contract — he may be required to collect a certain number of medical rejects from teams even if he does not want to play, or meet some other standard of ‘due diligence’ to prove his disability.

  • Big T

    Does Finley have a sister who can speak up and tell everyone how horrible Green Bay is to her brother and how underpaid he is and how Rodgers never gets him the ball.

  • White92

    I can’t see TT overpaying, especially if this Lyerla kid looks like the player everyone says he can be. The Packers have Quarless, Bostick, teh kid from Cal, and Lyerla. I’d love to see Finley back, but only at a decent price. Maybe a 1 year incentive laden deal..?

    • Stroh

      Lyerla is as far from being ready to play TE in the NFL as Finley was as a rookie. Which is to say, he isn’t… Lyerla being on the roster is a good start, and staying out of any controversy is an even better start. Signing Finley just gives us the best option for good or better TE play this year and maybe next. I for one would love to see him cleared to play and get re-signed by the Pack.

      • Stroh

        That said, I don’t consider it likely he continues his career in GB, unfortunately.

  • Since ’61

    As I have said in recent articles about Finley’s situation, his health combined with his high salary expectations make it unlikely that he will return to play for the Packers. Of course anything can happen but I think the Packers need to move on and see what they have in Quarless, Bostick, Lyerla and Rodgers (TE). If he is medically cleared and signs a reasonable contract how long before he is injured the neck or otherwise and we need to fall back to Quarless, Bostick or another TE anyway. With the type of neck injury he has can he ever be considered 100% healthy? No. I’d like to see him back but I think it is time to move on. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

  • GBPDAN

    I would think laying on Lambaeu field paralyzed that day against the Browns would have scared the $#it out of him. Having a neck fusion isn’t something to take lightly when you play in the NFL. He should have taken the insurance money and retired

  • 1stngoal

    I would love to see Finley back in Green and Gold, but I really don’t see it happening, not because of the injury, but because of the teams salary structure. I’m not sure how much he is expecting to get, but with Nelson and Cobb expected to receive extensions, I just don’t see how he fits into the equation. This looks more like a ‘crossing the rubicon’ ala Brett Favre…

  • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

    I’d much rather have Nelson and Cobb in 2015 than Finley. Between Quarless, Bostick, and Lyerla, and Rodgers the Packers have a enough at TE. I know Lyerla is not ready to be a every down player, but he’s a very gifted athlete that could help the Packers as the season progresses. Truth is, I doubt any of us really have a clue how much he can contribute. Otherwise I’m sure we’d be working in the NFL instead of doing it from our favorite chair. Obviously most don’t make a impact in year one at WR or TE. But there are those like Allen from the Chargers (WR), or Reed from the Redskins (TE), that end up having excellent seasons in terms of production as rookies.

  • http://allgbp.com Thegreatreynoldo

    It seems highly probable that Finley, if signed, would instantly be the best TE on GB’s roster. So, I am open to offering a contract like Raji’s. The downside is that I would not want to carry 5 TEs on the roster. I would like to see what Bostick, Rodgers and Lyerla look like in training camp. The situation could sort itself out if say, Lyerla, flames out off the field or doesn’t excite too much interest due to his play on the field, and can be put on the practice squad.

  • big o

    Everyone is forgetting that our med staff are the ones that are going to make or brake this deal, and Finley has about as bad an injury as you can get for a fb player,I bet he’s done!!

  • http://YBSportsNews william mueller

    Know how much a player,like Fin,loves to play .I would take the 10 mil.Enjoy life at the fullest.Become a anounser for E S P N,if the chance is available.Enjoy life cause there is always a chance to get hit an your life as you know it is gone for ever.Good luck on your decision.Bill M oshkosh

  • http://YBSportsNews william mueller

    FOR the all around problem concerning Fin i would take the 10 mil call playing days over.Enjoy life with family,kids,and friends Dont take a chance with the possibility of getting hit ackwords and end your days maybe in a wheel chair.your a great player go out that way

  • http://YBSportsNews william mueller

    Being a great player, is one thing inwhitch you are take the 10mil,enjoy family do things you all enjoy dont get hit the wrong way and end your great playing day dont get carted off the field whitch would distroy you life.take your love ones feeling if you get hit laying on the ground your family would freak rite out.