Jermichael Finley

North Notes: Finley, Levy, Robinson, Pitta

In an interview with Rob Demovsky of, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley discussed his decision to retire, explaining that some time away from the game helped him put things in perspective.

“Just watching games, the game is getting violent,” Finley said. “Every week you see something. In high school, you see a kid dying in a football game. I see someone in the NFL getting another neck injury or an ACL. Outside looking in, it’s not all that it’s made it to be. We’re so locked in as football player, it started to become our reality in life.”

While Finley wouldn’t confirm whether he was able to collect the $10MM insurance policy he took out before suffering his 2013 neck injury, he said he’s in a good place financially.

Here’s more from around the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters today that linebacker DeAndre Levy underwent surgery on his hip and is doing fine. However, the team has yet to make a decision on whether or not Levy will go on IR, ending his season (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
  • Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson, who opened the season on the physically unable to perform list, is returning to practice this week, which means the club will have a three-week window in which to activate him, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Another player who opened the year on the PUP list, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, returned to practice today, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Baltimore now has a three-week window to either activate Pitta and shut him down for the year, so the tight end – who admits that some people have urged him not to play again – will see how his hip feels and consult with family and doctors before making a decision (Twitter links via Zrebiec).

Jermichael Finley Officially Retires

Former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley has officially retired from the NFL, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). As Schefter observes, the news doesn’t come as a surprise, given Finley’s injury history and the fact that there had been no word on his comeback attempt since 2014.

Finley, 28, was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Packers, and spent the next six seasons with the team. During that stretch, Finley was frequently targeted by Aaron Rodgers, racking up 223 receptions for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns. Finley’s best year came in 2011, when he established career highs with 767 yards and eight TDs.

However, a 2013 neck injury derailed Finley’s career, and forced him into early retirement. About a year ago, we heard that the tight end had working out for five hours a day in the hopes of signing with an NFL team at some point. At that time though, despite showing progress through a series of MRIs and CAT scans, Finley wasn’t considered likely to return to the field.

Instead, the ex-Packer was moving forward to collect a $10MM insurance policy that he had filed in case of a career-ending injury. As Rand Getlin detailed in August 2014, it wasn’t as simple as Finley filing the claim and being handed $10MM, since at least one doctor medically cleared the tight end to return to action — that meant that the insurance company could argue the injury sustained by Finley wasn’t career-ending.

It’s not clear whether Finley has collected some or all of that insurance policy in the past year, but assuming the process is still ongoing, the fact that he has officially retired from the NFL should help move things forward.

NFL Notes: Los Angeles, Goodell, Rice

There are a number of notes pertaining to the league as a whole this afternoon. Let’s have a look:

  • Adding to the increasing buzz surrounding the potential return of the NFL to Los Angeles, Albert Breer of the NFL Network writes that owners at the annual Fall meetings last week were presented with six potential sites for a stadium in LA. Per Breer, those sites are: “the AEG site in downtown Los Angeles, the Dodger Stadium site, a site at Hollywood Park with multiple parcels, a site that the NFL has been looking at for years in nearby Carson, a second Carson site on land that is currently home to a golf course and Ed Roski’s site in Industry.”
  • Breer adds (via Twitter) that it is unlikely that the Raiders would be the first team on the list of clubs that could end up making the move to LA. He writes that many of the scenarios regarding a possible relocation involve the Raiders but also include the Rams and Chargers.
  • Citing ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the NFL wants to shield commissioner Roger Goodell from testifying at the Ray Rice appeal hearing. Judge Barbara S. Jones, who will hear and decide Rice’s appeal, could compel Goodell to testify, but that is the last thing the NFL wants.
  • Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole tweets that Jermichael Finley‘s disability insurance case has been an “eye-opener” for other players, as it is much more difficult to collect on such a policy than one would think.
  • Mike Garafalo of FOX Sports writes that one of the issues discussed at last week’s Fall meetings was the possibility of a team being stripped of draft picks for player conduct policy violations.
  • Robert Salonga and Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News discuss how the circumstances surrounding 49ers‘ defensive lineman Ray McDonald demonstrate the conflicts of interest created when NFL teams hire sworn police officers as security.
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier today that many NFL owners want someone other than Roger Goodell to handle disciplinary matters, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen expounds on the issue. As Mortensen writes, one proposed modification would make it so that “the commissioner would not decide on the initial player punishment but rather yield to a neutral arbitration panel chosen by the union and league.” However, “Goodell would be the appellate officer or appoint a designated hearing officer if a player appeals his disciplinary action administered by the panel.” Nonetheless, union sources are skeptical of that proposal and indicate that any modification to the personal conduct policy would require collective bargaining.

Jermichael Finley Filing Insurance Policy Claim

Although Jermichael Finley hasn’t given up on returning to action for an NFL team, the free agent tight end is moving forward to file a claim on his $10MM insurance policy, a source tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Finley, who is still recovering from a neck injury that required spinal fusion surgery, had the policy in place in the event of a career-ending injury.

According to Pelissero, Finley continues to work out for five hours a day in the hopes of signing with an NFL team at some point. However, despite showing progress through a series of MRIs and CAT scans, returning to the field isn’t a realistic possibility for now. So Finley intends to move forward to try to collect the insurance money, as the policy stipulates he can attempt to collect the money if he hasn’t played in four games — Pelissero tweets that the decision is mostly procedural, and won’t stop Finley from trying to latch on with an NFL club.

Of course, as Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports detailed in August, it certainly won’t be as simple as Finley filing the claim and being handed $10MM. At least one doctor has medically cleared the tight end to return to action, meaning the insurance company could argue that the injury sustained by the former Packer isn’t career-ending. Even if Finley is able to collect some or all of the insurance money, it will likely be a drawn-out process, with no guarantees.

While it looks increasingly likely that Finley won’t play during the 2014 campaign, he did draw a little interest in the offseason from the Patriots, Seahawks, and Steelers, among other teams. The Packers have also expressed interest in bringing Finley back into the fold if and when he’s healthy.

La Canfora’s Latest: London, Finley, Raiders

Thanks to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, we learned earlier today that the internal struggles of the Dolphins organization goes beyond head coach Joe Philbin‘s reluctance to affirm Ryan Tannehill as the team’s starter earlier this week. That report has since been supported by a similar article from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, and La Canfora has a few other notes worth passing along:

  • La Canfora writes that the movement to put an NFL franchise in London continues to gain momentum, and he describes how the league would handle some of the logistical challenges inherent in such a a decision.
  • In a series of tweets, La Canfora notes that league commissioner Roger Goodell and Players’ Association head DeMaurice Smith met this week to discuss a new personal conduct policy, which they hope to have in place by the Super Bowl. La Canfora expands on those tweets in a full-length article.
  • In a separate piece, he writes that, although teams continues to explore the possibilities of acquiring free agent TE Jermichael Finley–the Ravens, having lost Dennis Pitta for the season, were the most recent team to monitor his progress–it is “99 percent certain” that Finley will not play in 2014.
  • In an article concerning the uncertainty of the Oakland front office, La Canfora writes that Raiders owner Mark Davis, who “has considered firing his coach and general manager several times in recent years,” continues to speak with his confidants about a potential shake-up. If Davis does end up firing current head coach Dennis Allen, offensive coordinator Greg Olson is a strong candidate to take over as interim head coach.

NFC North Notes: Munnerlyn, Finley, Tulloch

Vikings defensive backs Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton were not fined for their hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees last weekend. The play resulted in a 15-yard penalty and some shoving from both sides.

As’s Ben Goessling writes, Munnerlyn opined that he shouldn’t have been flagged for the play. Brees respectfully disagrees:

“He said that wasn’t a penalty. I said, ‘Of course it was, you suplexed me,'” Brees said. “‘But listen, I like you, I think you’re a good football player. I appreciate the 15 yards, thank you.'”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC North…

Jermichael Finley Insurance Policy

Jermichael Finley is still a free agent, and the common thought is that he was searching for an NFL team for the 2014 season.

However, most fans and pundits were led to believe that if he was not able to sign a deal, or if he chose not to, he could at least fall back on an insurance policy that would pay him his permanent disability after suffering a career-threatening neck injury early last season.

Finley even said as much last month, telling Tom Pelissero of USA Today“If I quit the game right now, I can take tax-free money, and that’s a difficult thing that I’m going through with myself.”

Unfortunately, this might not be true. The fact that he has been cleared to play and has had negotiations with NFL teams could disqualify him from claiming that his injury ended his career, and cost him some or all of the $10MM insurance policy, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports.

Getlin writes that an insurance executive and an insurance recovery attorney both agree that it is highly unlikely that Finley would still be able to collect on that policy. He notes that the insurance company would take Finley to court and argue that he was cleared to play by his doctor, and that he announced to the NFL that he was healthy and ready to be signed.

If Finley and his agent were trying to leverage the insurance policy into a larger NFL contract, and teams call his bluff, there is a chance he will walk away with neither or have to crawl back into the NFL at the veteran’s minimum.

Getlin also notes that while Finley had disability coverage, he did not purchase loss of value insurance. Disability only pays if the player cannot pay, while loss of value insurance would have paid out if he was able to sign a contract for a fraction of what he was worth before his injury.

NFC Notes: Falcons, Bryant, Finley, Nelson

In the wake of Sean Weatherspoon‘s season-ending Achilles injury, the Falcons added a pair of veteran free agent linebackers, signing Pat Angerer and Tim Dobbins to minimum salary contracts. However, the team hasn’t ruled the possibility of making further changes, according to Vaughn McClure of, who reports that former Packer Nick Barnett remains on Atlanta’s radar.

Per McClure, the Falcons were impressed with Barnett’s workout earlier in the offseason, but opted to sign Angerer and Dobbins instead. After Angerer left Tuesday’s practice complaining of headaches though, there was concern he may have sustained a concussion, which may prompt the Falcons to turn to Barnett.

As we wait to see whether the Falcons make any roster moves, let’s check in on a few other NFC teams….

  • Having extended Tyron Smith, the Cowboys will now have the franchise tag available next year for Dez Bryant, but team executive vice president Stephen Jones said today that Dallas is “totally committed” to locking up the star receiver for the long term (Twitter link via’s Ed Werder).
  • After Anthony McCoy suffered an apparent torn Achilles tendon in practice earlier this week, the Seahawks may be looking for some tight end depth, but the team won’t be revisiting the possibility of signing Jermichael Finley, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (link via PFT’s Curtis Crabtree).
  • Florio also has the full breakdown of Jordy Nelson’s new extension with the Packers, suggesting that the deal should secure the wideout’s place on the roster through at least 2016.
  • Insider linebacker will be a position to watch for the Eagles this year, after the club didn’t really address the position in free agency or the draft, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • A federal court hearing will take place in California this Monday to determine whether Redskins wideout DeSean Jackson will have to repay agent Drew Rosenhaus $516K+, as an NFLPA arbitrator previously ruled, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.

North Notes: Bears, Jimmy Smith, Packers

After submitting his choices for the 50 best trade assets in the NFL earlier this week, Grantland’s Bill Barnwell shifts gears and takes a look today at the worst contracts in the league. Leading the way on offense is Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, whose contract will be stuck on the club’s books for several more years. On the other side of the ball, Everson Griffen of the Vikings, Paul Kruger of the Browns, and Troy Polamalu of the Steelers are a few of Barnwell’s picks for players with the least team-friendly deals.

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Bears have twice tried to re-sign Kyle Orton since trading him away five years ago, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wonders if the team could look his way once again if neither Jordan Palmer nor Jimmy Clausen steps up as the No. 2 QB behind Jay Cutler. It’s unclear at this point whether Orton intends to continue his playing career in 2014.
  • Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith doesn’t anticipate signing a contract extension anytime soon, according to Jamison Hensley of (via Twitter). That doesn’t mean Smith isn’t interested in a long-term stay in Baltimore, but he likely recognizes his leverage is limited with two years still left on his deal.
  • Speaking to reporters today, including Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), Packers coach Mike McCarthy continued to leave the door open to the possibility of Jermichael Finley rejoining the team, adding that the tight end is “still a Packer” in his opinion.
  • With both the team and the league enjoying “unparalleled financial prosperity” and the salary cap continuing to rise, the Packers will have plenty of money to invest both on and off the field going forward, team president Mark Murphy said yesterday (link via Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

Extra Points: Clowney, Glenn, Shembo

  • Texans No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney’s status for the beginning of training camp is still up the air, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, who is recovering from June sports hernia surgery, remains day-to-day with no timetable established for his return.
  • The Ravens placed backup nose tackle Terrence Cody on the physically unable to perform list for the beginning of training camp, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Cody, who is recovering from hip surgery, can be be activated whenever he’s healthy enough to resume practicing.
  • In minor transaction news, the Bills signed receiver Tori Gurley and cornerback Kamaal McIlwain to fill empty roster spots, according to insider Chris Brown.
  • Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn is on the Active/Non-Football Illness list, but GM Doug Whaley doesn’t think Glenn will be lost long-term, according to WGR 550’s Joe Buscaglia. Said Whaley: “We don’t think so at this time. It’s just gonna have to see on how he progresses. We hope not. We’re still waiting on some reports on him, but it looks like it’s gonna be one of those day-to-day things and we’ll see how it progresses.”
  • In the meantime, highly publicized rookie Seantrel Henderson will man left tackle in Glenn’s stead.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union takes an in-depth look at the Jaguars’ new-look offensive line, including quotes from offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch praising the athleticism of Luke Joeckel and the leadership of Zane Beadles. “He’s certainly as advertised and then some,” Fisch says of Beadles.
  • Falcons fourth-round outside linebacker Prince Shembo has a realistic chance of earning starts, writes Orlando Ledbetter in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ledbetter says the team will “force-feed” information to Shembo, whom head coach Mike Smith is “very excited” about. “He’s picked up the system very well,” said Smith. “He doesn’t have any experience, but we will get him a lot, I can assure you that in the preseason.”
  • James Harrison, Jermichael Finley and Santonio Holmes headline AP writer Dennis Waszak Jr.’s list of 13 notable, veteran free agents still looking for work with training camps getting underway.
  • The Patriots issued a press release saying Bill Belichick and Aaron Hernandez exchanged 34 total text messages, not 33 pages worth. According to Boston Globe correspondent Dan Adams, filings released Monday did not reveal the contents of the text messages or what Patriots employees shared with authorities, but did reveal that Belichick, Robert Kraft were interviewed by investigators, who also searched the locker of a player.
  • The NFL is moving swiftly to address the issue of underqualified underclassmen flooding the draft, reports’s Albert Breer. In an effort to deter potentially undraftable players from declaring, the league’s advisory committee will streamline (simplify) its evaluation grades to include first round, second round or neither. Additionally, colleges will be restricted to five evaluation requests unless an abundance of talent dictates the need for more (e.g. Alabama, LSU, Florida State, etc.). Writes Beer: “At the heart of the changes are staggering statistics stemming from the 2014 draft class — of the record 107 who declared, 45 went undrafted. A majority of those 45 remain unsigned by NFL teams as undrafted free agents.”