Now, the Green Bay Packers tight end is confident that he will strap on his helmet again some day in the not too distant future.
"Of course I plan to play football again," Finley wrote on TheMMQB.com. "This is what I love to do. I love the game. I love Sundays. Based on the feedback I've received from doctors at this point, the question is not if I'll play again, but when."
Finley compared the injury to a bad car accident that shocked his spine. He's still improving by the day. In fact, his motor skills, coordination and balance all are back to normal.
"I was very conscious, but I could not move," Finley poignantly wrote. "I looked at my teammate Andrew Quarless directly in the eye and whispered, 'Help me, Q. I can't move. I can't breathe.' The scariest moment was seeing the fear in Q's eyes. I knew something was wrong, but his reaction verified it. That really shook me up."
Packers doctors don't yet know if the injury will end Finley's season. That would be a tremendous source of stress in a contract year, had Finley not taken out a disability policy that will pay him $10 million tax-free if he never plays another down in the NFL.
"I can sleep at night," Finley added, "knowing that regardless of what happens, my family is financially secure forever -- maybe the biggest odds I'll ever overcome."
The Packers have a history of career-ending neck injuries, as neither wide receiver Sterling Sharpe nor safety Nick Collins ever played again after undergoing cervical fusion surgery on their vertebrae. The difference in Finley's case is that there's no surgical procedure and no damage to the vertebrae.
To this point, all signs are positive on Finley's future.