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Cornerback Cortland Finnegan Signs With Dolphins

Posted Mar 14, 2014

Veteran defensive back has eight years of experience to his credit.

There is nothing wrong with adding a little experience to a roster even while trying to build for the future, which is why the Miami Dolphins signed veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan today. 

Miami is looking to address the side of the field opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes after losing Nolan Carroll to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency yesterday and releasing Dimitri Patterson on Monday. Their two draft picks from last year – Jamar Taylor and Will Davis – showed some promise as rookies but veteran leadership and a proven skill set are still valuable assets to have in the secondary.

“We’re really excited with what he’s going to bring to the table,” said General Manager Dennis Hickey, who pointed to Finnegan’s addition along with that of free safety Louis Delmas and the re-signing of Grimes as key upgrades to the defensive backfield. “He’s been a tough playmaker over his career with veteran presence, leadership and a love and passion for the game that’s what we’re all about.”

Finnegan, 30, has 99 career starts under his belt with Tennessee and St. Louis and earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2008 with the Titans when he led the team with five interceptions, 17 pass breakups, one sack and 70 tackles (58 solo). Tennessee selected the North Carolina native in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Samford University and after making two starts in 16 games as a rookie he became a regular starter for the Titans for the next five seasons.

The Rams signed Finnegan for the 2012 season and he immediately delivered with three interceptions, nine pass breakups, one sack and 101 tackles (83 solo) in 16 regular-season games with 15 starts. He did all of that lining up on the left side after spending the majority of his first six seasons at right cornerback and now he’s eager to help the Dolphins reach their goal of getting back to the playoffs.

“I think first and foremost I’ve got to earn the respect of these men, not by what I did in the past but by how I’m working now,” Finnegan said on his conference call with the local media. “It starts in the locker room and in the weight room and on the field. I know they have younger talent here and so it’s just trying to mentor them and trying to take my experience of film study and things of those nature along with the coaches and trying to intertwine that into making them the best players, because the younger guys are the future of this organization.

“I’m also looking forward to learning from Brent because I think Grimes is one of the best in the NFL in my opinion if not the best all around. So I’m excited to play with him and learn from him, so I couldn’t be more excited about this whole opportunity.”

Finnegan’s second season in a St. Louis uniform last year was a disappointing one that came to an early end right before Thanksgiving when he landed on Injured Reserve with an eye injury. Finnegan ended up playing in just seven games with five starts with one interception, one pass breakup and 27 tackles (23 solo).

Finnegan has 18 career interceptions with four touchdowns, 78 pass breakups, seven sacks and 601 tackles (495 solo). He was born in Fayetteville, N.C., but went to high school in Milton, Florida and is eager to compete for a starting job with Miami.

“You can never know how much a guy has left in the tank if he’s injured,” Finnegan explained. “I can make no excuses for my play last year when I was on the field. At times I played good and at times I didn’t but I was injured most of the year so that didn’t help out my cause. Now it’s a clean slate, I’m on a new team with great coaches and I’ve got to let my play do the talking.”