The Green Bay Packers are in the business of winning football games just like any other NFL team, but have proven that they care about their players as people too.
The Packers have had an absurd amount of neck injuries in recent seasons to Nick Collins, Sean Richardson, Jermichael Finley, Johnny Jolly and Johnathan Franklin. All of those players except for Richardson were key pieces to their team.
Collins was a rare talent at safety who had the speed to roam around deep in the middle of the field and make plays on the ball. He was a huge key to the 2010 Super Bowl Championship, and the defense has never been the same since his neck injury. The Packers are hoping they have finally found somebody even close to him in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Finley has caught 223 passes for 2,785 yards and 22 touchdowns in his five-year Packers career. He will be looked at by some as a guy who never lived up to his potential, but he was a solid player nonetheless and a key piece to Green Bay’s lethal aerial attack. If Finley does not return to Green Bay he will be leaving a hole at his position.
Jolly was an emotional leader for the Packers last year after missing three seasons due to his codeine addiction. The Packers stuck by him and he rewarded them. He was a key force among a defensive line that didn’t have many.
Franklin was the team’s fourth round draft pick last year who they traded up for after they already drafted Eddie Lacy in the second round, so you got a sense there of how much they thought of Franklin’s talents. Franklin had issues with fumbling and did not see the field much before a neck injury forced him from the game.
Finley and Jolly have received clearance from their personal doctors, but have not received the same from any NFL team. So, this is not to say that the Packers are the only team who protects players, but they have had so many key players with neck injuries that it stands out more how they handle it.
Imagine how much better the Packers would be if they still had all of those players. They have all clamored to play at some point, but the organization has never given in.
This is an issue that they are very real about. The whole “Packers people” thing isn’t that real since they have taken on a number of guys with character risks. However, when it comes to neck injuries they always put the player ahead of themselves. Hopefully it’s a decision that they do not have to make as much in the future.