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Finley’s first thought: Is God punishing me?

Finley Getty Images

In an era when so much time and effort and worry have been devoted to the potential long-term consequences of minor brain injuries suffered by most if not every football player at most if not every level of the game, it’s easy to forgot the more immediate risk.  The one we’ve known about for decades, due in large part to the hit applied by Jack Tatum on Darryl Stingley.

Football players can suffer serious neck injuries with permanent consequences.  While so many players are now immobilized as a precaution and then quickly determined to be OK, the risk of paralysis remains — as we all learned through the experiences of men like Mike Utley and Dennis Byrd.

Most recently, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley became the relatively rare NFL player who exits on a stretcher but who instantly isn’t proclaimed to be healthy or close to it.  Finley suffered temporary paralysis from a two-centimeter spinal-cord bruise in Week Seven, and he has written a first-person account of the experience for TheMMQB.com.

“Is this God punishing me?” Finley said.  “Is this Karma?  This was my initial thought when I was down on the field.  I felt as if everything that I had ever done wrong came crashing down at me at that one moment.”

Finley instantly knew he had something possibly worse than a concussion.

“I was very conscious, but I could not move,” Finley said.  “I looked my teammate Andrew Quarless directly in the eye and whispered, ‘Help me, Q.  I can’t move; I can’t breathe.’  The scariest moment was seeing the fear in Q’s eyes.  I knew something was wrong, but his reaction verified it.”

So how did it happen?  By trying to protect himself from a legal hit to the legs, Finley put himself in position for a dangerous collision.

“I remember seeing the defender out of the corner of my eye, and I intentionally lowered my head and shoulders to protect my knees,” Finley said.

Players consistently say they’d prefer a concussion to a torn ACL.  But they surely wouldn’t prefer a neck injury.  Even though Finley has improved dramatically, he possibly has a long way to go before he can return to the field.

Finley explained after his recent collision that multiple family members were trying to get him to quit playing.  Now, he makes no mention of family resistance in the wake of the neck injury — and he makes clear his plan to return to the game.

“Based on the feedback I’ve received from doctors at this point, the question is not if I’ll play again, but when,” Finley said.

We wish him a return to the level of health that will allow him to play, and that he’ll remain healthy once he does.

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71 Responses to “Finley’s first thought: Is God punishing me?”
  1. conormacleod says: Oct 29, 2013 1:35 PM

    I wish him the best, but God doesn’t punish people. Because he’s not real.

  2. doctorrustbelt says: Oct 29, 2013 1:36 PM

    Idiot.

    Retire for your kids (all of them… even the other four you don’t see).

  3. hay1111 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:38 PM

    God does nothing to prevent children from being raped at Penn St. yet we’re so self absorbed to think he/she/it cares about a football injury.

  4. dlbpatsfan says: Oct 29, 2013 1:39 PM

    Yeah I know exactly how it feels to have something go wrong and you know it, but looking at someone nearby and seeing the fear in their eyes, boy it just makes the moment all the more scarier.

  5. maiphatdong says: Oct 29, 2013 1:39 PM

    i would go with karma on this one

  6. packmangamble says: Oct 29, 2013 1:40 PM

    We’re all rooting for you Jermichael!! Take your time, get well soon, and hopefully we’ll see you back for the Super Bowl run!!!!

  7. tokyosandblaster says: Oct 29, 2013 1:40 PM

    God isn’t punishing you, Jermichael. You play for His team.

    So glad to hear that he will be back to full health, but I question whether or not he should play. It’s a game, man.

  8. natelan69 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:40 PM

    You should retire, bud.

  9. calvinhobbes5000 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:42 PM

    “Based on the feedback I’ve received from doctors at this point, the question is not if I’ll play again, but when,” Finley said.

    Good news. Here’s to a swift and speedy recovery.

  10. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Oct 29, 2013 1:42 PM

    Can you imagine how good a born again Jermichael would be? One who can Let Go and Let God. I can. And the rest of you will find out next year.

  11. logicalvoicesays says: Oct 29, 2013 1:43 PM

    God’s a Redskin fan. Period.

  12. belichickdominatedjoemontana says: Oct 29, 2013 1:43 PM

    God might hate you…but I don’t my son.

    Come join me.

    -Bill Belichik

  13. Frazier28/7 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    Oh, we’re so sorry you’re a multi-millionaire that became injured playing a childs game. And yet, God’s punishing you. Grow up ya moron.

  14. glac1 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    I don’t think God would punish someone on the team that he created on “the eighth day”….

  15. faultylogic29 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    Really well written account by Finley. He has matured a lot over the past couple years. It’s more evident now than ever.

  16. wydok says: Oct 29, 2013 1:45 PM

    hay1111, I don’t think you actually understood at all what Finley was saying.

  17. trabbit55 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:45 PM

    hay, that’s incredibly short-sighted
    if you got near-paralysis from a neck injury when your livelihood depends on your physical condition, you’d be questioning god’s plan too
    that’s like saying, “Children are starving in Africa, how can I be upset about my terrible meal at this restaurant?”
    but I’m sure you’d be complaining if you got bad service or food, wouldn’t you?
    it’s all relative

  18. myspaceyourface says: Oct 29, 2013 1:46 PM

    Guilty Conscience? ? ?

  19. furfishandfeathers says: Oct 29, 2013 1:46 PM

    Funny, Greg Jennings was wondering the same thing on Monday night.

  20. purpleguy says: Oct 29, 2013 1:50 PM

    Goofy guy, but I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

  21. doctorrustbelt says: Oct 29, 2013 1:50 PM

    If God woke up early on Sunday and went down to any tailgate parking lot near any NFL stadium and took a look around…. I think he might decide to eradicate the human species.

  22. herlies says: Oct 29, 2013 1:51 PM

    $10m tax-free via insurance if he never plays again may be too hard to pass up. Although, the specifics of his policy may prevent him from collecting if he is “cleared” one way or another.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but Finley never seemed like a guy who was absolutely devastated that he wasn’t part of GB’s title run. In the end, he got a ring just like everyone else.

  23. thepftpoet says: Oct 29, 2013 1:51 PM

    The packers suck

  24. blacknole08 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:51 PM

    If you consider being a millionaire before 26, playing in the NFL in front of millions of fans and having a clean bill of health, not injury, but health to live the rest of your life, I would take that punishment.

    Finley should consider it a blessing.

  25. thaojack81 says: Oct 29, 2013 1:52 PM

    God puts adversities in everyone’s life so you as an individual would grow.

  26. kingpel says: Oct 29, 2013 1:52 PM

    Of course you guys make your comments about God because you are not laying on a football field temporarily paralyzed. I am sure it was something that popped into his mind given the extreme circumstances he found himself in. Leave the man be.

  27. thepftpoet says: Oct 29, 2013 1:54 PM

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Packers suck

  28. pixelito says: Oct 29, 2013 1:56 PM

    Same thing RGIII says whenever he looks in the mirror.

  29. tokyosandblaster says: Oct 29, 2013 1:56 PM

    thepftpoet says:
    Oct 29, 2013 1:51 PM
    The packers suck

    Oh, Hey Contra.

  30. jonbeck316 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:00 PM

    He was never serious about retiring. He was just trying to draw attention to himself.

  31. shaggytoodle says: Oct 29, 2013 2:01 PM

    I am choose not be religious, I believe that science has determined when two bodies that size collide injuries will happen.

    Its because of science that they can help people with those injuries.

    For those of you who choose to bash someone, because he chooses to believe a religion, with all his heart and passion. To help them get through life.

    You bash Rodgers for giving honest answers on his radio program is one thing, but when Finley, shares his thoughts and feelings, about what others have nightmares about, and you choose to rip him for it? … Forget you guys.

  32. geniusry says: Oct 29, 2013 2:02 PM

    “I remember seeing the defender out of the corner of my eye, and I intentionally lowered my head and shoulders to protect my knees,”

    The new rules caused this injury. Simple as that.

  33. locutus says: Oct 29, 2013 2:03 PM

    It’s just a game, dude. Your life should mean more than that as should the privilege of watching your kids grow.

  34. steelersaregodsteam says: Oct 29, 2013 2:03 PM

    The Steelers = God’s favorite.

  35. Max says: Oct 29, 2013 2:04 PM

    Chilling just reading his comments. God be with you.

  36. c1md6 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:05 PM

    No god punishes Rodgers every time you’re on the field being the only thing you could catch is the injury bug.

  37. richardgozinya says: Oct 29, 2013 2:08 PM

    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I don’t work on the day of rest.

  38. bennyb82 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:08 PM

    God hates to see dropped passes so I would say yes.

  39. orivar says: Oct 29, 2013 2:11 PM

    “The scariest moment was seeing the fear in Q’s eyes.”

    Powerful stuff right there. The domino effect by the NFL’s faux safety regulations are only getting worse.

  40. ufools says: Oct 29, 2013 2:13 PM

    Yep, cause he’s a Cowboys fan. Even he can’t help them win though….

  41. slick1ru2 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:15 PM

    Talk to Mike Alstott before you decide to go back.

  42. aclerok says: Oct 29, 2013 2:15 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Oct 29, 2013 1:50 PM
    If God woke up early on Sunday and went down to any tailgate parking lot near any NFL stadium and took a look around…. I think he might decide to eradicate the human species.

    ====================================

    Why wait til Sunday? He could just read half the comments in this thread.

  43. vikescry1 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:18 PM

    Either way good luck with what u decide j mike.

  44. mwatts1 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:23 PM

    I wonder what Finley’s done in the past to have him think this…..

  45. lehoss says: Oct 29, 2013 2:27 PM

    The man get’s temporarily paralyzed and yet there are a bunch of people on here calling him moron, idiot, and slamming him for mentioning God? Those of you making those comments are disgusting, pathetic excuses for human beings.

    Hope you get well soon, Jermichael.

  46. raiderufan says: Oct 29, 2013 2:30 PM

    As an atheist it doesn’t bother me one bit that his first thought was to his faith.

    When someone thinks god stepped in and left enough milk for supper or popped $10 in the ole wallet for gas money that gets way under my skin…but a guy going to his belief system at a time he thought his entire life just changed? I can handle that.

    If it bothers you that he went there…get a hobby.

  47. dolphincult says: Oct 29, 2013 2:30 PM

    the lack of belief and hate from fans for belief is so sad. No need to preach but no room for haters either.

  48. almighty1 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:36 PM

    Keyboard commandos abound in this thread.

  49. chicagobtech says: Oct 29, 2013 2:40 PM

    Shades of Johnny Knox. Jermichael, it might be time to hang it up. Hang onto how much of your remaining health that you can.

  50. mn1288 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:46 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Oct 29, 2013 1:36 PM
    Idiot.

    Retire for your kids (all of them… even the other four you don’t see).
    ————————-

    What a trash comment. Get some respect.

  51. skins1976 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:54 PM

    GOD doesn’t believe in Atheists!

  52. billh1947 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:55 PM

    I love the way athiests jump into a forum at the moment Gods name is mentioned,they are hugely outnumbered by Christians and it upsets them that God is still in the vocabulary.if you dont believe in God and Christianity nobody in the world cares that you dont.

  53. isphet71 says: Oct 29, 2013 2:58 PM

    Seems like 90% of NFL retirees all wish they would have retired earlier, almost always at a specific point in their careers.

    This might be that time; I hope Finley seriously considers leaving while he can walk away. Even if his neck is fine in the long run, legs, hips, knees, feet… brain… the NFL really catches up to former players HARD when they get older.

  54. ningenito78 says: Oct 29, 2013 3:08 PM

    Sounds like a man who, in an instant, realized everything one needs to know about life.

  55. imjinrat says: Oct 29, 2013 3:29 PM

    Yea, God often punishes by blessing people with children and making them multi-millionaires in their early twenties.

  56. minnesoulja says: Oct 29, 2013 3:33 PM

    Praise be to the all-mighty and forgiveness to those who turn their backs.

    Some of us can’t get out of our own way. Good luck out there.

  57. deltaoracle says: Oct 29, 2013 3:39 PM

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Vikes have one win
    And Ponder at QB too.

  58. ma5terbla5t3r says: Oct 29, 2013 3:40 PM

    Maybe this will knock some sense into his hands withe nerve damage or something so he’ll catch the ball. Bank on it!

  59. usdcoyotesfan says: Oct 29, 2013 4:11 PM

    Ray Lewis thinks God is mad at the Packers for beating his (God’s) Ravens.

  60. packerfan1000 says: Oct 29, 2013 4:21 PM

    I am choose not be religious, I believe that science has determined when two bodies that size collide injuries will happen.

    Its because of science that they can help people with those injuries.

    ———

    God invented science.

  61. acerun87 says: Oct 29, 2013 4:52 PM

    A Catholic priest invented the scientific method.

    A Catholic priest developed the Big Bang Theory.

    A Catholic priest invented germ theory.


    …here come all the Ad Hominem attacks. (See formal rules of logic.)

  62. warhammer420 says: Oct 29, 2013 4:52 PM

    Yes, an all-powerful entity has nothing better to do than decide which athletes get injured. You know, since theres only an infinite number of worlds in the cosmos. I’m sure a God is micromanaging the games that we primates play.

  63. wipackman1265 says: Oct 29, 2013 5:09 PM

    Hey Viking fans ….. It’s not March / April or May……. So it’s not your Time to speak….. This is the time good football teams get to strut….the losers can talk smack in the spring…THAT is your time !!!

    So take your godless poems and comments and drive drunk listening to prince on your way to an Al Franken rally arse and move to the Mary Tyler Moore site. Losers !!!

  64. shaggytoodle says: Oct 29, 2013 5:15 PM

    packerfan1000 says: Oct 29, 2013 4:21 PM

    God invented science.
    ______

    Forgot about that,.. good call,

  65. stellarperformance says: Oct 29, 2013 5:41 PM

    packerfan1000 says:
    Oct 29, 2013 4:21 PM
    God invented science
    /////////////////////////////////

    Prove it.

  66. acerun87 says: Oct 29, 2013 5:55 PM

    God invented science
    /////////////////////////////////

    Prove it.

    ———-

    God created man> man discovers cause and effect> science.

    Something (the Universe) cannot come into existence out of NOTHING? There MUST be a first-mover *Creator* [An infinite regression cannot logically exist]

  67. axman72 says: Oct 29, 2013 6:27 PM

    God bless the guy. Hopefully he has a quick recovery.

  68. vikescry1 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:43 PM

    thepftpoet says:
    Oct 29, 2013 1:54 PM
    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Bears are bad Vikings just got taken to the wood shed

  69. stellarperformance says: Oct 29, 2013 8:50 PM

    acerun87 says:
    Oct 29, 2013 5:55
    God created man> man discovers cause and effect> science.
    (the Universe) cannot come into existence out of NOTHING? There MUST be a first-mover *Creator* [An infinite regression cannot logically exist]
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    That’s called an opinion, based on your personal choice (ie; blind faith.)

    And let me guess……the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Right?

  70. acerun87 says: Oct 30, 2013 8:21 AM

    Something cannot come out of nothing. That is a fact, not an opinion.

  71. stellarperformance says: Oct 30, 2013 3:25 PM

    acerun87 says:
    Oct 30, 2013 8:21 AM
    Something cannot come out of nothing. That is a fact, not an opinion.
    ////////////////////////////////

    What does that prove?

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