January 26, 2011
The Green Bay Packers official Super Bowl team picture will be 15 players short. It was revealed earlier this week that the NFC champions won't be including players on injured reserve in the official photograph, a decision which has left some of those players upset.
Nick Barnett(notes) and Jermichael Finley(notes), who began the 2010 season as Green's starting inside linebacker and tight end, respectively, expressed their disappointment on Twitter after finding out the news:
I don't blame them. Even if you're one of the IR players who's not as valuable as Finley or Barnett, you still played a role in getting the team to the Super Bowl. There's no "IR" in team. It's ridiculous. Backup offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith(notes) began the year in Seattle and signed with Green Bay on New Year's Eve. He gets to be in the team photo while Finley, the most valuable member of the team's offense not named Aaron Rodgers(notes), doesn't?
The Packers caught wind of the discontent and quickly issued a spineless press release:
"It was a team decision driven by the sheer number of players on IR," the Packers said in a statement to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Our primary focus is to get the team ready to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every decision we make is about trying to win a world championship."
Because the team's medical facilities won't be available in Dallas, the Packers think it's better for the players on IR to arrive at the game on Thursday so they can continue treatment. (Yes, because those extra 48 hours of treatment are going to play such a huge role in getting the players ready for OTAs in three months.) Once the players arrive, they'll participate in every Super Bowl activity.
Upon first reading this story, I thought, "that stinks for those guys, but if they weren't around for the picture it doesn't make much sense to fly them in just to say 'cheese.'" But then I read it again and realized that the picture isn't being taken until next Tuesday. As in six days from now. The Packers are doing damage control on an event that can be avoided! Just send them down early! We're not talking about an army battalion here. It's 15 guys. Squeeze 'em in a G6!
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