McCarthy: 'Finley is a Packer in my opinion'

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.

The Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field October 6, 2013 in Green Bay, Wis.
Wm.Glasheen/Post-Crescent Media

Little has changed on the Jermichael Finley front, but Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy hasn't altered his tune about the seventh-year tight end still being on the team's radar.

"Jermichael Finley is a Green Bay Packer in my opinion and obviously he's going through a medical situation," McCarthy said Friday, the day before the first training camp practice. "First and foremost, you just want him to get healthy."

Finley is eight months removed from undergoing cervical fusion surgery of his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae for a spinal contusion he sustained in an Oct. 20 game against Cleveland.

The 27-year-old tight end has been cleared to resume football-related activities by his surgeon, Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor Joseph Maroon, but remains unsigned. Finley recently told USA TODAY that the Steelers offered him a contract, "but we all know the money ain't what it's supposed to be."

ESPN Wisconsin also reported Finley was in Green Bay recently to meet with Packers team doctor Patrick McKenzie, but McCarthy said he was unaware of the last time the two sides had spoken. The Packers have one open spot remaining on their 90-man roster and roughly $13 million remaining in salary cap room.

For the moment, the starting tight end job is up for grabs. Third-round rookie Richard Rodgers made some noise during the offseason program and Brandon Bostick has said he hopes to snag the job after showing promise before a foot injury ended his first NFL season.

The Packers also re-signed veteran Andrew Quarless to a two-year deal, but he missed the entire offseason program with an undisclosed injury. They also brought in undrafted rookie Colt Lyerla, who was considered a second-day draft choice if not for off-the-field incidents while at Oregon.

The position is arguably the biggest question mark on the roster, but McCarthy still likes what he's seen thus far. If Finley returns, it makes one more tool in the cupboard.

"I like our tight ends. I think that's a group that we're really got to get a lot of pad work," McCarthy said. "I mean, if there was ever, if you wanted to say, 'OK, what group progressed?' You went, 'OK, wow' (about tight ends) in spring."

McCarthy said he didn't have any updates as to which players could start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, including outside linebacker Clay Matthews.

Matthews missed all the offseason program as he continued to rehab his twice-broken right thumb. He's seven months removed from the second break, which occurred on a sack of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Dec. 22.

"I haven't seen Clay personally yet," McCarthy said. "Our schedule today was players went through physicals this morning. Some guys were around last night just to say 'hello.' We have conditioning tests going on right now and actually our staff meeting is at 4:30. That's where all the information will be compiled and presented."

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