Read What You Want Into Finley's Comments

Love him or hate him — you probably don't love him — Jermichael Finley is a modern-day E.F. Hutton. When he talks, people listen. Finley made headlines again when asked about his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. What did Finley really say, and what did his position coach say on Thursday?

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was born in 1987.

Brokerage firm E.F. Hutton was purchased by Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1988.

One has nothing to do with the other, though it's interesting to recall the old E.F. Hutton catch phrase of, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."

When Jermichael Finley talks, fans listen.

And typically, the fans get mad.

Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Finley said he's having a "fair" season and "not doing the best I can do."

Asked if he can raise his level of play even while battling a sprained shoulder, Finley said, "I can. It takes two people to do that. And I need the quarterback on my side, and I need to catch the ball when he throws it to me. So, it takes two things to get that going, the chemistry. I feel we need to get that going."

When reporters followed up on Finley's "chemistry" with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Finley said it was "OK." Pressed on the subject, he said: "Not good enough at all. Something to be worked on, and try to work on it as much as I can, try to talk to him as much as I can, but, like I said, it takes two people."

Not surprisingly, given Finley's polarizing presence, fans and some out-of-town reporters acting as if they were present in the conversation seized on Finley's "it takes two people" comment as Finley pointing fingers at Rodgers. What they conveniently forgot is Finley's definition of chemistry includes him catching the ball better. They also ignored Finley calling Rodgers a "leader" when Rodgers pointed to himself as not playing well enough.

"To be honest with you, I see two guys who work together on the field," tight end coach Jerry Fontenot told Packer Report on Thursday. "I see Aaron come over and talk to Jermichael while we're at practice and while we're in the meeting room. Those two guys talk."

"I don't see any issues while we're in the building or on the practice field," Fontenot added.

Finley, having agreed to a two-year contract during the offseason, hoped this finally would be the breakout season the team has been expecting for the past few years. A year removed from the season-ending knee injury that torpedoed his dominant start to 2010, Finley's 22 receptions are only one behind Jordy Nelson's team-leading 23. He's tied for sixth among NFL tight ends in receptions and is on pace for 74 receptions, which would obliterate Paul Coffman's franchise record by a tight end (56).

However, with 198 yards, he's averaging just 9.0 yards per reception. With 3.2 yards after the catch per reception, he ranks 27th among tight ends who have caught at least 10 passes, according to PFF has Finley down for five drops while STATS has Finley down for four. Either way, only Dallas' Jason Witten has more drops among tight ends (PFF, six; STATS, five).

"I think everybody's gotten lost in the (Rob) Gronkowski numbers and Jimmy Graham numbers, going for a K (1,000 yards) a year," Finley said. "I mean, that's unheard of. Five years ago, you'd get in the Pro Bowl at 500 yards. You know what I mean? I think I'm doing fair. I think I'm doing well, doing what I'm supposed to do. I think I'm giving my all out on the field, for sure. I think I'm doing fair. I'm not doing the best I can do, of course, but, hey, who said it was going to be a great year?"

Well, Finley has said that, and therein lies the problem. Until Finley can duplicate for a full season his four-game totals in 2010, when he caught 21 of 25 targeted passes for 301 yards with no drops, he's going to be a lightning rod as a player viewed as either speaking too confidently or speaking too much with not enough thinking.

The fact is, the Packers need Finley. They need him more than ever. The offense was in a funk even before losing Greg Jennings and Cedric Benson, and the team is looking at a very deep hole if they lose on Sunday night at Houston.

Finley, in his return to his native Texas, wants to play — bum shoulder and all.

"I'm not trying to be a tough guy, hulk or nothing like that," he said. "I just want to play football, man."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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