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Source: Finley failed Seahawks physical

Mar. 21, 2014
 
Free agent Jermichael Finley is barely more than four months removed from neck surgery performed Nov. 14 to fuse his C-3/C-4 vertebrae.
Free agent Jermichael Finley is barely more than four months removed from neck surgery performed Nov. 14 to fuse his C-3/C-4 vertebrae. / USA TODAY Sports

An NFL source said the Seattle Seahawks failed tight end Jermichael Finley on his physical during his recent visit to the team.

Finley is barely more than four months removed from neck surgery performed Nov. 14 to fuse his C-3/C-4 vertebrae. He made a free-agent visit to the Seahawks during the first week of free agency so the teamís medical staff could assess his recovery.

The source didnít know whether the Seahawks will bring Finley back for a re-check. Though Finley has said he expected his surgeon to proclaim the bone in the neck fusion healed this month, that doesnít mean NFL teams will clear him to play football, at least for now.

For one, Finley might have collateral issues in the neck that could be preventing him from passing a physical until or if they heal better. His initial injury included a spinal contusion.

Also, some doctors think C-3/C-4 fusions are too high up the neck to clear players, at least at some positions, because there are too few discs above to compensate for the fused disk.

For a recovery comparison, Packers safety Sean Richardson underwent fusion surgery on his C-5/C-6 vertebrae in January 2013 and wasnít cleared by the Packersí medical staff until mid-November, 10 months later. Former Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton had neck fusion surgery in January 2010 and wasnít cleared until the start of training camp 6 Ĺ months later.

Finley has been training hard all offseason to return to football, and coach Mike McCarthy expressed optimism earlier this offseason that Finley eventually will be cleared and that the Packers will try to re-sign him. But at this point itís far from certain Finley will pass a physical.

Earlier this week, Finley sent out a cryptic tweet, "I'm striving toward this acting thing. I'm definitely gonna work hard on that whatever comes my way."

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