Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is carted from the field against the Washington Redskins during the first quarter of the game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on Oct. 10, 2010. / File/Press-Gazette
In the first of what is sure to be several mini controversies that take on lives of their own in advance of the Super Bowl, at least two Packers’ players on injured reserve have expressed disappointment that they won’t be in the team picture that will be taken in Dallas during media day for Super Bowl XLV.
Through their Twitter accounts, both linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley indicated the decision didn’t sit well with them.
The problem, from the Packers point of view, is they’re not the only two players on injured reserve. Had the Packers not had 15 players on injured reserve, things might have been handled differently.
According to a team spokesman, “It was a team decision driven by the sheer number of players on IR. Our primary focus is to get the team ready to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every decision we make is about trying to win a world championship.”
There are logistical reasons that the injured reserve players won’t be part of the team picture. The fact that the Packers are off-site means their medical/training facilities won’t be as extensive as they are at team headquarters, where they can handle more injured players.
In Dallas, the team will need all the space possible to treat the active players with injuries and therefore might not be able to treat the injured-reserve players who need attention.
The injured reserve players will join the team in Dallas on Thursday. Those players will be on the sideline during the game and will be entitled to all the benefits the rest of the players receive.
In a text message to the Press-Gazette, Barnett said: “Well they don’t want IR players down there till Thursday, but I have heard in the past other (teams) don’t do that.”
Earlier in the day, Barnett tweeted: “Kinda sad. Found out basically IR guys can not be in team picture. .. It’s kinda sad to think.. Just goes you injured yourself you not part …”
Finley tweeted: “I never trip (about) anything, but the way IR players are getting treated not cool.”
Barnett, via Twitter, later apologized if he caused any distraction: “I was not trying to be a distraction nor was I downing the organization they have done so much for me over last 8 years. … Just saying I am sad that it worked out the way it did. This game is bigger then my feelings and my body of work. It’s about “One Goal!”