The much softer side of Cortland Finnegan

Getty Images

Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan has developed a reputation for playing at, and beyond, the limits of the rules.  He has been called many things, few of which would constitute flattery.  A much-publicized fight with Texans receiver Andre Johnson only enhanced Finnegan’s not-so-fine reputation.

So it’s refreshing to see the other side of the player.  Thanks to the folks at, we now can.

Finnegan developed in 2010 a relationship with Kelsey Towns, a Father Ryan High School student and volleyball player who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after finding a lump on her leg.  Finnegan and teammate Ryan Mouton visited her during the recovery process.

“I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world — besides my wife,” Finnegan said.  “She lit my day up with her smile.  And the rest is history.”

History includes Finnegan giving Kelsey an autographed jersey and tickets to every 2010 home game.  “I got out of chemo on Friday morning, and I knew I had until Sunday morning to get better,” Kelsey said.  Finnegan and his wife also named a newborn daughter after Kelsey.

The best news is that Kelsey has been in remission for six months, and she’ll start college in the fall.  The fact that Finnegan helped her through the process, and that he didn’t take steps to make the media aware of his efforts when he was being harshly criticized for his fight with Andre Johnson (one G.M. privately said Finnegan is an “absolute scumbag“), easily overcomes (as far as we’re concerned) anything he’s done between the lines that someone may describe as dirty, despite the fact that he has said he wants to be known as the dirtiest player in the league.

23 responses to “The much softer side of Cortland Finnegan

  1. I think that’s good for him. But it doesn’t absolve him of all the sh!t he does on the field.

  2. Good for him for being a positive influence on a needing human being.

    If you don’t play on the field, who really cares? Let the refs and other players deal with him on a day to day basis. The average fan should care less.

    And ENOUGH of the GM types bad mouthing people anonymously. Attach your name or you are just as much as a scum bag.

  3. Finnegan was a 7th round draft pick from Samford university for crying out loud. And undersized at that. He’s a solid corner and wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t play the way he does, that’s just a fact.

  4. This whole Finnegan-is-dirty thing is one of the most overblown memes on the interwebs. He’s an extremely physical corner who takes receivers out of plays with hack-a-shaq techniques, instead of pretty-boy finesse that guys like Deion used.

  5. He’s a jerk on the field and I don’t think you can argue that, it’s not just his fight with Andre.

    But he seems to be a great guy off-the-field and kudos to him for what he’s doing here.

  6. dirtiest player in the league tends to give you an image: “if you throw to ball to me your receiver will be a homicide victim.”

    letting people know that he was basically part of the cure for a girls cancer treatment doesnt do alot to solidify his tough rep. the dirtiest player in the league doesnt say “she was the most beautiful girl in the world besides me wife. her smile lit my day up.”

    THATS why hes doing all this. plus i think andre johnson may not the nicest guy after all.

  7. Cortland Finnegan is a VERY good guy despite the “on field antics” – it’s almost like a wrestler who is a completely different person in “real life” – he’s feisty and a competitor on the field, but when he steps off of it he’s a nice, respectful, well-mannered, good guy. He says “Yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am” to EVERYBODY and is always smiling and cutting up. LOVE seeing things like this about a guy who really does personify what a pro should be off the field – total opposite of Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, TO, VY, DeSean Jackson, and so on and so forth

  8. Andre kicked his ass……simple as that, and his ego took a blow, but it still doesn’t mean he can’t be a man…..This is far more important than the thousands of fights football players have had…….

  9. A lot of players are completely different people off the field. At least he’s doing something good for someone else.

  10. ttommytom says:
    Jun 27, 2011 11:00 AM

    And ENOUGH of the GM types bad mouthing people anonymously. Attach your name or you are just as much as a scum bag.
    I admit it gives me a laugh thinking about its being the player’s own GM saying it.

  11. Finnegan the person is — for real — one of the good guys. Polite and actually pretty softspoken outside of the game, none of the sense of entitlement that a lot of young players have. He’s worked hard for everything he’s gotten as a small-school, late-round pick, and he always seems extremely grateful for everything he has. And he has definitely been the kind of guy to give back, often. Seems like he goes through life with an appreciative smile on his face.

    I know he dug his own hole in saying things like the “dirtiest player” quotes that rub people the wrong way — even if he wasn’t taking himself nearly as seriously as other people were when he said them. And I know he likes to play the game with a “won’t back down” chip on his shoulder.

    But he reminds me of Hines Ward that way. It’s just the way he plays. It’s not the only side of him.

  12. Good story. I can’t help but think that if Cortland were in the headlines for something negative, this story would have already garnered more than the 11 comments thus far.

    Do you think CF mixes Jameson with Hennesey?

  13. He doesn’t play flag football for crying out loud! I want every member of my defense to be fiesty, and the fact that he stood up to a much bigger Andre Johnson just shows that when he’s on the field, he thinks he’s the meanest S.O.B. out there. I mean, I’m a Broncos fan ok, so we should trade for his butt and put him on the d-line! Problem solved baby!

  14. I’ve watched Finney play EVERY game of his NFL career (every home game in person) and he signs autographs and cuts up with fans before AND after EVERY game. He plays the tough guy role on the field and is physical because it does get in the receivers’ heads.

  15. One of those old school guys that got where he is because of hard work and determination and is going to fight, scream and scratch his way into keeping it that way.

    From what I understand he is a very good person.

  16. Some competitors have a very aggressive, over-the-top personality INSIDE the lines in order to perform at a high level.

    Who you are OUTSIDE the lines are much more important.

    This is not unique, but it is refreshing to hear of his good deeds, sans-personal promotion.

  17. Biggest one-sided sports fights: 1) Nolan Ryan using Robin Ventura’s head as a speed bag; 2) Andre Johnson hitting a turtle.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!