I just got off the phone with Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. If there is such a thing as humble pie, Jermichael is most definitely in it.
I have to admit I was a little nervous when the phone rang. For one, I was in the can. In addition, contrary to popular belief, the number of Green Bay Packers that call my phone each day is relatively low. Couple this with Jermichael's questionable comments during the season last year, and honestly I expected to be greeted with certain air of superciliousness.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
What I was met with was a quiet, modest, and self-effacing tight end headed to his football camp somewhere in the backwoods of Texas.
He immediately let me know I could ask him anything that I wanted to. Since he will be appearing on our LIVE show next week, I wanted to keep it light and save most of the football questions for Saturday night. So, I decided to ask the really, really important things.
Here is how it went.
I started out with the most pressing question I could think of.
"Why do you paint your toenails and then broadcast the pictures all over the internet?"
It seemed logical to me at the time. We are in the north woods here, actions of this nature are not always greeted with enthusiasm or political correctness. According to Finley, he has been doing it for years.
"I have been painting my toes for about four years now. It started when I first met my wife in Texas. I got them painted bright red for Valentine's Day and it worked. It's been a good luck charm for me ever since."
Jermichael noted that regardless of his reasons he still takes quite a bit of flack in the locker room. His main nemesis is one Mr. James Jones, who Finley said is relentless when it comes to giving him hell on a regular basis.
"James Jones...he never stops. He is always on me."
Nice work James Jones. Seriously though, if this is indeed a good charm, I say paint 'em twice a week.
I moved on to several more important questions that I thought might be of interest to Packer fans across the nation.
"If everyone in the locker room was single, and you went out to the club, which guy is coming home with the girl?"
He laughed of course, but it's a serious question. We as Packer fans have a need to know these types of things. I was hoping for a unique answer, something that no one would ever expect, but alas it was not to be. He didn't even have to think.
"Aaron Rodgers, without a doubt I would have to say A-Rod."
Oh well, nothing earth shattering there. I guess Aaron is the man outright. I'm okay with that.
Coincidentally, right after I asked that question the phone went dead. Talk about being concerned for a moment. When everything was said and done, Jermichael had gotten disconnected and called back right away, more than willing to answer as many hardnosed professional inquiries as I had to ask.
We got to talking a little bit about his charity effort. If you are not familiar with the story, Finley is donating $1,000 to charity if his wife reaches the 1,000 follower mark on Twitter. I can tell that this is a big thing for the Finley as he came back to the subject several times. Finley's wife Courtney also does a lot of outreach work herself for the troops and their families. As a couple they are trying to strengthen the amount of people they can reach.
They have found it slow going to get to the mark, and both Jermichael and I were a little bit shocked that this has been the case. He asked that people like me get the word out for what is a good thing. You know what? He is right.
Jermichael's efforts are a simple way for Packer fans to help get some money in the hands of people that need it. I also know now that this is not some kind of game to the young couple. They want to help and they want to get people involved. Packer fans have been waiting ages for players to be more accessible and the Finley's are helping make that happen.
So join Twitter, follow @cmariehuggins, and let's do our part to do something good.
As a Packer blogger it was about this time that I broke down and had to start asking some football related questions. I couldn't help myself. What would you do?
Anyway, I started in lightly.
"What game are you looking forward to the most next year?"
Of course, I was expecting to hear the words Minnesota Vikings right about then, but Jermichael seems to have one game on his radar that he can't wait for.
"I can't wait for Cowboy game."
Although he is excited for all the divisional games, being a former native of Texas, he looks forward to playing the state's crown jewel more than anyone else.
I see this as good news. I hope he tears it up.
I continued to ask him a little bit about the offensive philosophy. I was curious to know whether the system seemed different to him this year, or was it just a matter of continuing to tweak the playbook where they had left off last season.
"The offense is pretty similar to last year. We throw in a couple of plays each practice, but we are rolling with what we left off with last year...it's nothing like the defense man, that playbook is nuts."
We got into a little side discussion on Nick Barnett's train horn in his truck "Big Red." Finley has not been "horned" as of yet, but noted that the thing is as loud as it sounds.
I then finished up with a great question from Aaron Nagler at CHTV, and one I had been curious about as well. We haven't seen a lot of tight end action in the endzone the past couple of seasons, so I asked Jermichael if he thought he would be a featured player in the red-zone offense more in 2009. He took that opportunity to make one thing clear.
"You know those little corners in the end zone? They're all mine this season."
Jermichael Finley...a gentleman, a loving husband, and most importantly, the self proclaimed stake holder to the far corners of Lambeau Field.
Jermichael Finley will be appearing on CheeseheadNation LIVE next Saturday, August 1, at 8:00 p.m. Lambeau time. Make sure and tune in. He says he is pumped to do the show.
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