Rodgers understands Finley's desire to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers knows what he would do if he were Jermichael Finley.

And the Green Bay Packers quarterback believes most NFL players would do the same thing.

"I would want to play until they told me I couldn't play anymore," Rodgers said Monday during a wide-ranging interview. "He's younger than I am, and we're competitors. We have to be in our arena doing what we love to do, so it would be near impossible to keep me off the field. I'm sure he feels the same."

Rodgers said he has been in semi-regular contact with Finley throughout the tight end's recovery from neck fusion surgery. He said he does not know what doctors have told Finley, but he knows his former teammate wants to keep playing. Finley, who is a free agent, still has his nameplate above his locker at Lambeau Field.

"I've talked to him about him and his psyche," Rodgers said. "I haven't talked to him about his specific injury."

Finley underwent surgery in November to fuse his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae after he sustained a spinal cord contusion during an Oct. 20 game against the Cleveland Browns. Finley sustained a hit that left him momentarily motionless and without feeling in some of his extremities. The Packers placed him on injured reserve on Nov. 5.

Finley met with the Packers' doctors late last month in Green Bay but has not yet received medical clearance from the team to continue his playing career.

However, Dr. James Maroon, the Pittsburgh Steelers doctor who performed Finley’s surgery, reportedly gave Finley clearance shortly before he visited the New England Patriots last month.

Finley has a $10 million disability insurance policy that he might be able to collect if he does not return to football, but Rodgers, like most people, believes Finley's first choice is to play again.

"Yeah, just follow him on Twitter, you'll know what he's thinking," Rodgers said.

On his Twitter account, Finley regularly uses the hashtag #IWillRiseAgain.

"My understanding is he's in great shape and he's doing everything he can," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said shortly after Finley's most recent visit to Green Bay.