McCarthy thinks Finley plays again

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jermichael Finley's future with the Green Bay Packers doesn't look as bleak as it once did.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy expressed optimism Friday that the tight end will be able to resume his playing career following last year's season-ending neck injury and also said he was hopeful the team can re-sign him.

Finley sustained a bruised spinal cord that left him momentarily motionless on the field during an Oct. 20 game against the Cleveland Browns. A month later, he underwent surgery to fuse the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae in his neck.

A similar surgery ended safety Nick Collins' career with the Packers after the 2011 season. He has not played in the NFL since.

McCarthy said Packers physician Pat McKenzie, who did not operate on Finley, views Finley's injury and surgery differently than he did Collins' situation.

"Pat doesn't feel the same way about Jermichael as he felt about Nick," McCarthy said in an interview at his hotel during a break from the scouting combine. "So I'm very open and optimistic about Jermichael coming back. I think the specifics of their injuries are different."

Finley was in the final season of a two-year, $14 million contract and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent March 11.