Former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was a playmaker in Green Bay. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
This week, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley posted a cartoon on Twitter that showed a man in bed, covered in blankets and sleeping in too late. It carried the caption: “You Snooze, You Lose.”
“Lol … U get it?” wrote Finley. “#IWillRiseAgain.”
Finley, a free agent whose season was cut short last season because of a neck injury, is now on the open market and vowing to play again -- and the Raiders are reported to be one of the teams in the running to sign him.
Since being drafted by the Packers in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft out of Texas, Finley had become one of the league’s best playmakers at his position. In three of his five seasons as a starter in Green Bay he had seasons of 55, 55 and 61 receptions. The only two seasons in which he failed to catch 50 or more passes were years when he played just five and six games because of injuries.
In 2013 he was sidelined early in the season by a neck injury that left his playing career in doubt. Some doctors believe he risks severe injury if he plays again after bruising his spinal cord and having surgery to fuse fusion of two vertebrae.
Before he became a free agent in March, Finley had said he wanted to be “a Packer for life.”
But Green Bay decided not to make him an offer, and Finley has been linked to the Steelers, Seahawks and Patriots. Seattle apparently has dropped out of the picture, but the Raiders are now in the mix, reported Chris Wesseling, a writer for NFL.com’s Around the League section.
“Finley has never lacked for suitors,” wrote Wesseling. “The question is whether any doctor besides his own will clear him to play and whether any forthcoming offers will override a $10 million insurance policy that will kick in if Finley never plays football again.”
The Raiders certainly would seem to be well positioned to go after Finley if he gets medical clearance. The Raiders are counting on David Ausberry (returning from injury) and second-year pros Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa at tight end. Each has potential, but none has the proven receiving ability of Finley. Plus, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was with the Packers when Finley was drafted and became a key to the offense, so there’s a relationship there.
The addition of a healthy Finley to the Oakland offense would give new quarterback Matt Schaub a terrific target.
And Finley believes he can still play. He’s ready to rise again.
“I can go give any team what they need and take them to the promised land, I can guarantee you that,” he told Pro Football Talk earlier this year.