The NFL can provide fame and fortune for many of the people lucky enough to ever wear a pro football uniform.
However, there’s an inherent risk that comes with each and every snap of the football.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley came face-to-face with that realization during Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
Finley was carted off the field with a neck injury and was forced to spend Sunday night in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. The reports coming out of the Packers’ camp have been good, with news that Finley has full feeling of his extremities and video has surfaced of him walking through the hospital.
Walking is one thing. The punishment of the NFL is something totally different.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the bruised spinal cord that Finley suffered will likely end the tight end’s season, but it’s not believed to be a career-ending.
That doesn’t mean the thought of ending his football-playing career hasn’t crossed Finley’s mind.
As recently as September 28 of this year, after suffering a concussion in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Finley said that his five-year old son encouraged him not to play football anymore.
Finley said that his son Kaydon told him “”Daddy, I don’t want you to play football anymore,’” according to NFL.com. “So that was a little hard to take, just hearing a five-year-old,” Finley said, “knowing the violence and the (intensity) of the game and seeing his father walk off the field like he did, I would think is pretty hard for a family to see.”
Just three weeks after that quote, Finley found himself face down on the turf with not only his season but his playing career and well-being at stake.
It’s truly an unfortunate situation for a talented player that was seeming to find his role on a talented team, but there shouldn’t be anyone that faults Finley should he choose to walk away.
It would actually be refreshing to see a young man in Finley – who is just 26 – put his health and family above the future millions that he could potentially earn. If he chooses to rehabilitate and come back, great, but it’s going to be a decision that Finley and his family make on their own.