Interest in Jermichael Finley largely stated, inaccurately reported

Patrick Smith

Dr. Joseph Maroon is the Steelers' neurosurgeon. He operated on the neck of former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. That connection has turned into the Steelers are interested in Finley, and a visit with his surgeon is being construed as a visit with the team.

Something isn't quite adding up, although it doesn't rule out the possibility the Steelers are simply kicking over stones in regards to their alleged interest in former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com wrote Wednesday the Steelers are still interested in Finley, as Ben Volin reported back in March. He attributed that news to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, linking a story that doesn't mention the Steelers at all.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders have also shown interest in Finley.

In fact, Rapoport adds that the free agent has visited the Steelers and been cleared by their team doctor, who also doubles as Finley's doctor.

The story he referenced can be found here, and while it's true Dr. Joseph Maroon, the surgeon who operated on Finley, is the Steelers' team neurosurgeon, Rapoport says, via Twitter, he "visited Steelers team doc."

Let's everyone take a step back now. This is how rumors spread - which isn't bad for business, of course. Wesseling is wrong to point out Finley visited the Steelers based on Rapoport's report. Rapoport has clarified the comment.  It's certainly misleading to suggest Finley's visitation with the man who performed surgery on him is the same as him visiting the Steelers because Maroon happens to be the team's neurosurgeon (not their team doctor, either, he's listed as a team physician in neurosurgery).

Now, could Maroon have pronounced himself as a representative of the Steelers when he was observing the patient, making his stated goal to examine Finley from the perspective of resuming his NFL career? Sure, it seems within the realm of due diligence to check out a player who may, to some degree, help the team. But certainly a surgeon examining a patient in a post-op appointment shouldn't carry the assumption a team is interested in signing him. That might loosely fit the notion the Steelers are interested in Finley, but it doesn't show a specific interest in signing him to a contract.

Whether there is any sort of actual confirmation the Steelers are interested in Finley as a player and not just a guy their surgeon operated on this offseason remains to be seen. For now, the roll on the Finley story needs to be slowed.

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