Candid Finley criticized by ex-Packer Chmura
The third-year player from Texas said during the offseason that he wants to be the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. He raised eyebrows and drew some criticism for bragging about Super Bowl plans for the team this season.
"He is a great player, but he is a moron," retired tight end Mark Chmura said Sunday on his talk show on ESPN Radio in Milwaukee.
Chmura, who was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame last month, took exception to Finley shouting "Super Bowl" and "Dallas, Texas," where the championship game will be played in February, during a televised interview at Lambeau Field following Green Bay's scrimmage Saturday night.
Chmura's advice to Finley: Keep your mouth shut and play football.
Finley heard what Chmura had to say and isn't taking the criticism quietly.
"That's just one of those jealousy things, I guess," Finley said Thursday. "I'm not trying to call him out or nothing. But that's how I see it."
Finley, a third-round draft pick by the Packers in 2008, has never met Chmura, who played for Green Bay from 1993-99. Chmura was part of the Packers' last Super Bowl-winning team in 1996.
"I think he thought they stopped inventing the Super Bowl when they won it in '96, so he doesn't want to see that from my standpoint," Finley said.
The Packers tolerate Finley's brashness as long as his play on the field speaks louder. Coaches said Thursday that they like the enthusiasm, energy and confidence Finley exudes.
"He's got that passion," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "I don't think any of his things (he says) are malicious or anything like that. I'm fine with it so far. We'll let him know if it gets over the line."
Tight ends coach Ben McAdoo agreed, saying Finley's gift for gab is done with the right intentions.
"The No. 1 rule in our room is be yourself and don't spend a lot of energy trying to be somebody you're not," McAdoo said. "I think he does a good job of that. I think he's very honest."
Finley has picked up in the preseason where he left off down the stretch last season. He had 55 receptions—one short of Paul Coffman's team record for a tight end in 1979—for 676 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season.
Finley followed that up with a six-catch, 159-yard performance in the Packers' 51-45 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs. In Saturday's scrimmage, Finley led all players with four catches for 55 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown on a throw from Aaron Rodgers.
"The big fella, if you just put it in his area, he's going to make the play, usually," Rodgers said.
At 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, Finley's combination of size, speed and athleticism is a recipe for a mismatch. Talk by Finley of being as good as, if not better than, the game's top tight ends may not be so far-fetched.
"He just turned 23 years old, so he's got about four or five years of getting better before he's got to even think about maintaining anything," McAdoo said. "That's going to be our focus right now, is keep chasing greatness."
-- Wide receiver Donald Driver was held out of both practices Thursday and is questionable to play in Saturday's preseason opener against Cleveland. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Driver will have a nagging calf injury evaluated today before a decision is made on his availability for the game.
-- Among the team's other injured players not expected to play Saturday are LB Clay Matthews (hamstring),
S Will Blackmon (knee) and OL Jason Spitz (calf). CB Al Harris (knee), S Atari Bigby (ankle) and rookie RB James Starks (hamstring) are on the physically unable to perform list and remain out.