In an interview with Deadpspin, former Green Bay Packers tight end, Jermichael Finley discussed his own injury history along with that of former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr. Finley was asked numerous questions, a few that pertained to Orr and his situation.
Orr told an interviewer he chose to retire after only one doctor told him his condition put him at a greater risk for serious injury. This contradicts what he said during his retirement press conference in January. Are you surprised he’s had people telling him he’s OK to play five months after he retired?
My thing is, what type of people is he talking to? Is he talking to family members that may be mooching off him his whole life, or is he talking to a doctor with a lot of pride, and a doctor that’s done his surgery—you know what I mean?—that just wants him out there just to say, “This is my guy; I helped him get healthy”? Or are they looking out for his best outlook? He did have a spinal cord injury [Ed. note: A late-season neck injury is what led doctors to discover that Orr’s C1 vertebra at the top of his spinal cord was not fully formed]. I can tell you: The injury he’s coming back from, it’s not good, man.
Given teams’ reluctance to take a chance on you after your neck injury, do you think it will be difficult for Zach Orr to get a team to take a chance on him?
I think it’s going to be tough. Zach is a great guy; I’ve followed him in the NFL—awesome, awesome guy. But at the end of the day, the league has their butts to cover, and teams have their butts to cover, so I think it’s going to be difficult for him to get on a team. Especially with all the head injuries, the settlements that’s coming out. It’s going to be very tough for any guy that had a neck or head injury to get back in the NFL from this point on.
As of now, we know that Orr has visited with at least the Colts and Lions, with a few more teams interested in his services, but Finley brings up a great point. The NFL in recent years has reached settlements with former players totaling at least $765 million overall. Finley himself cashed in an insurance policy for nearly $10 million, which he disclosed in this interview, but that took a gamble on his part. Obviously the settlement was geared more towards the concussion and brain injury side of the game, but the nature of Orr’s injury could be life threatening.
Heading forward, Zach Orr will be under a medical microscope if he does wish to continue playing and that may not be a bad thing. Last season Orr was diagnosed with with the neck injury that led to his retirement, but initial reports indicated the Ravens attempted to talk him out of it. Since Orr left, there have been no reports of dialogue concerning his return to Baltimore, so as Finley indicated, there may be people in his camp who have personal interest in Orr’s return as opposed to his safety and well being.
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