Former Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this week, and now he's commenting on the state of the league. In his opinion, the game might be getting a bit too rough for his liking.
"Just watching games, the game is getting violent," Finley said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "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."
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Football has always been a brutal game, but there has been a growing sensitivity for player safety. As a result, the NFL has tweaked certain rules and enacted a more stringent concussion protocol. Still, there is serious concern about what a professional football player forces his body to withstand.
Finley is evidence of that sentiment. Although his official retirement came this week, he has not played in an NFL game since 2013. A vicious hit bruised his spinal cord and required fusion surgery in order to attempt a comeback.
"The bruise got smaller, but the fusion hadn't connected," Finley said, via ESPN. "They said if the bruise goes away completely, you can come back if it still hasn't fused. And I was cool with that. Let's try to get this bruise gone, but the bruise never went away. so I was like, there's no reason to come back, plus I had nerve damage in my entire upper body."
The situation that ultimately led to Finley's retirement should serve as a sobering reminder to all players that their NFL careers could come to an end at any moment.