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Jermichael Finley was ‘different man, different player’ down the stretch

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 15, 2013 – 6:19 pm

Jermichael FinleyHead Coach Mike McCarthy spoke rather positively about TE Jermichael Finley in his season-ending press conference on Tuesday, praising the fifth-year tight end for finishing the 2012 season very strongly.

While battling a shoulder injury early in the season, Finley’s production dipped. He started the season with seven receptions in the season opener, but through the first nine games he had 60 yards receiving in a game just once. Following the bye in Week 10, Finley reached or surpassed 60 yards in a game five times over the final seven weeks of the regular season. He had four games with at least five receptions over the final five weeks.

Finley finished the regular season with 61 receptions, a Packers single-season record for a tight end. He gained 667 yards and scored two TDs. He added five catches for 45 yards in the two playoff games.

Amidst some media speculation that Finley, who has one year left on a two-year contract he signed following the 2011 season, might not be back with the Packers next season at his current price tag, McCarthy made it sound as though he has every chance to return. Though McCarthy, as he said repeatedly on Tuesday, wasn’t making any final declarations about anybody.

“I’ve really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, different player from the bye week on,” McCarthy said. “I had an opportunity to talk to him about that at length in his exit interview.

“I feel very good about the way he finished the year. He did some good things Saturday night. There was a change in that young man. But we also have to look at that first half, too, and make sure that’s part of the evaluation. Because we’re all judged on (18) games.”


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