By Cedric Williams
For St. Louis Rams veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan, the 2013 NFL season has been one to forget.
Early in the season, with second-year corner Janoris Jenkins playing very well on the other side of the field, teams began to pick on Finnegan, who for the first time in his career didn’t seem up to the task.
The Rams faced some of the best receivers in the game in their first four games, and Finnegan was given the task of trying to cover guys like Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Atlanta’s Julio Jones, Dallas’ Dez Bryant, and San Francisco’s Anquan Boldin. And each week it seemed there was a new highlight (or lowlight if you were rooting for Finnegan and the Rams), of one of those elite receivers making a huge play with Finnegan somewhere in the background unable to stop it from happening.
After the Week 4 game against San Francisco, when Finnegan was pulled in the second quarter, the Rams announced that the eighth-year player out of Samford had suffered a hamstring injury and that he would need some time off to heal.
Recently though, Finnegan has implied that maybe the hamstring wasn’t hurt so bad (or maybe even not at all), and that the real reason he needed time off was because of an injury to his left eye he suffered in that same fourth game of the season.
“I’m pretty sure I had a hamstring,” Finnegan said to a group of reporters on Tuesday, while trying to hide a mischievous grin. “Yeah, I did. Obviously.”
No one not employed by the Rams knows for sure if Finnegan’s hamstring was ever really injured. What is known now though, is the injury to his eye was an orbital fracture that now almost nine weeks later still hasn’t healed.
And it’s still causing double-vision for Finnegan, leaving the Rams no choice but to put him on injured reserve, which with only five weeks left in the regular season, means the veteran emotional leader of the St. Louis secondary is done for the season.
“I’ve been dealing with it for some time,” Finnegan said. “I waited to the bye week and got a look at it. Found out I had an orbital fracture. I was seeing double for some time in my left eye. So I knew for some time that it wasn’t right. But I’m a stubborn guy. I didn’t want to let guys know.’
Initially, Finnegan only sat out for three games, then dressed but didn’t play in a Week 8 game against Seattle, before playing extensively against Tennessee and Indianapolis. The pain and double-vision never went away though, so Finnegan finally fessed up and told the Rams he had a problem that needed to be dealt with.
“You don’t think that it’s that serious,” Finnegan said. “I wanted to wait as long as I could before it got too worse. I wanted to stick it out and show these guys that I was tough about it.”
Finnegan found out his injury requires surgery, which he said has not been scheduled yet, but will probably take place in December.
To replace Finnegan on the roster, St. Louis promoted Quinton Pointer from the practice squad.
The second-year man out of UNLV hasn’t played in any games this season, but did play (mostly on special teams) in six games for the Rams last season.
Pointer’s promotion now gives the Rams four healthy cornerbacks on the roster, with Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson as the likely starters (they both started last Sunday), and Pointer and rookie Brandon McGee as the extra help off the bench when the Rams use personnel packages which require extra defensive backs on the field.
For more Rams news and updates, visit Rams Central.
Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at email@example.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.