Days after the Seattle Seahawks decided they will no longer pursue free agent tight end Jermichael Finley, news surfaced that the New England Patriots were the mystery team that Finley visited last Friday, after getting medical clearance from his doctor to return to playing football.
It was speculated that the Patriots were the interested team when it Finley’s agent said his client was taking a visit with an unknown team but the news was confirmed yesterday by ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
The news is interesting to say the least but it appears that the Patriots, like the Green Bay Packers are taking the wait-and-see approach with Finley. Last Wednesday, the Packers visited with Finley and put him through some testing but did not do anything that would allow team Dr. Pat McKenzie to clear him to return to Green Bay and it’s not known what kind of medical tests New England did on Finley, if any.
Right now, it appears that teams are still very concerned about the injury, there will be no rush to clear him or complete a contract that may be complicated depending on the status of his health, and the concern teams have about him being re-injured in the future.
As of right now, the news the Finley visited the Patriots doesn’t change the fact that his return to Green Bay at this point doesn’t seem likely, at least not anytime soon.
The Packers are extremely conservative when it comes to medical issues and if they have any concerns at all about Finley’s health, they will not be clearing him for a return. Then, even if the Packers clear him they need to agree to a contact with Finley, which will be just as difficult because the star tight end is still going to want to be paid top dollar.
The best chance of Finley returning to Green Bay this season would likely be a on a short-term deal that is not worth a ton of money but gives him a chance to prove himself heading into free agency next offseason. However, I encourage Packer fans not to hold their breath. From this perspective, Finley is good as gone. If he does end up playing football in 2014, it more than likely will not be in a Green Bay Packer uniform.