Jim Finn has taken a career path different from those of his fellow 1999 Wharton graduates. He has shunned spreadsheets for stat sheets, Goldman Sachs for just plain sacks. Last Sunday, Finn was in Kansas City to play his first regular season NFL game as a fullback for the Indianapolis Colts. As fullback, Finn's primary responsibilities will be blocking for Indianapolis' superstars, running back Edgerrin James and quarterback Peyton Manning. But with 1999 Offensive Rookie of the Year James handling the lion's share of the running game out of one-back sets, Finn's major contribution to the Colts this season will come on special teams. Finn embraced the role and is one of only three players on the Colts to be on every special team. "[In the NFL], every position, every play is extremely important because you have such good athletes," Finn said. "There's a lot of preparation and game planning, each day studying film for special teams." Finn's NFL career started off on a dubious note, as he was dubbed "Mr. Irrelevant" after the Chicago Bears made him the last overall pick in the 1999 draft. In Chicago, Finn was a member of the practice squad last year after getting cut from the regular roster in the 1999 preseason. This summer, Finn caught on with Indianapolis and is now the No. 1 fullback on the depth chart for Jim Mora's Colts, one of the league's elite teams. "I couldn't have asked for a better situation," Finn said. "I never really had [many] doubts. I always believed that I could play in this league. In some respects [getting cut] makes you work even harder." Last Sunday, in the Colts' 27-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Finn made two special teams tackles and saw limited time on offense. In the preseason, he had 22 carries for a respectable 63 yards. "Fullback isn't used every down," Finn said. "I'm only in for five to 15 reps on offense, so I have to make them count." Finn is used to making his presence felt on offense. At Penn, he was an integral part of the 1998 Ivy League champions, setting school records with 1,450 yards on 323 carries. He also won the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League MVP. Now, though, Finn gets to perform in front of crowds a bit larger than those in the sparsely populated Franklin Field bleachers. Finn lived every young ballplayer's fantasy last Sunday, walking out into a sold-out Arrowhead Stadium on opening day. "It was everything I thought it would be," Finn said. "I've always dreamed of walking out onto the field in front of 80,000 people. You can barely hear yourself think." While the noise level may take some adjusting, Finn said the jump to the NFL from college has not been as daunting as one might think. "It's sort of like going from high school to college," he said. "It's a little bit faster, but it's not anything unbelievable. "You get thrown into the fire -- either you adjust or you get thrown out of it real quick." Coming from the Ivy League, which only has a handful of players in the NFL, has not been a problem for Finn, either. "Once you're here, you're here, because you can play football," Finn said, although he did admit to an occasional ribbing. "It's not like they belittle you -- it's just your school." Finn follows Quakers standouts Joe Valerio, Miles Macik and Mitch Marrow into the NFL. Offensive lineman Valerio was drafted by Kansas City in the 1991 draft and spent six years with the Chiefs and Rams. Macik, a wide receiver, signed with the Detroit Lions for a year in 1996, and after that played in NFL Europe. Defensive lineman Marrow was drafted in the third round of the 1998 draft by the Carolina Panthers, but injuries ended his career before he played a gameComments powered by Disqus
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