Community Player of the Week: Cortland Finnegan

Posted Jan 7, 2013

The St. Louis Rams Community Player of the Week is cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

Last offseason, the Rams were looking to acquire tough, high-end players that could serve as leaders for a young but raw team. Enter Finnegan. The Rams made the former Tennessee Titan their top priority in free agency and moved quickly to bring him on board. In year one of a five-year contract, Finnegan lived up to his billing as a hard-nosed, physical presence in the secondary.

Finnegan backed up his role as leader and mentor with his play on the field. He recorded 101 tackles – a career high – and snagged three interceptions, including one he returned 31 yards for a touchdown in the season-opening game at Detroit. But along with the positive presence he provided on the field, Finnegan was an influential figure in the lives of many in the St. Louis and surrounding communities.

The day after recording his first win with the Rams, Finnegan kept the celebration going by joining teammates for the 17th annual Make-A-Wish Celebrity Server Night of Wishes. He and the other Rams players helped raise money for Wish Kids battling terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Throughout the evening, Finnegan collected tips from event attendees in exchange for autographs and photos opportunities. At the end of the night, the Rams had helped raise over $225,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or enough to grant the wishes of over 45 Wish Kids.

Finnegan again joined teammates in December for the 10th annual Taste of the NFL – St. Louis. The event allowed those in attendance to sample some of the signature dishes of some of the area’s top restaurant and beverage companies. A silent auction was also featured and the proceeds from the evening benefitted the St. Louis Area Foodbank and the St. Louis Sports Commission. Rams players, including Finnegan, interacted with fans by signing autographs and posing for pictures.

During the holiday season, Finnegan was instrumental in the team’s efforts with the Salvation Army Tree of Lights Campaign. He served as the chair of the event and recruited other members of the Rams defense to help ring bells and raise money for the Salvation Army. Stationed outside the Schnucks in Des Peres, Finnegan, some of his teammates as well as Rams cheerleaders and staff members rang bells and raised over $5,200 for the organization and the Tree of Lights Campaign. For a donation into the red kettle, Finnegan and his teammates signed memorabilia for fans who ventured out to the event. He also went on-air with 101 ESPN to promote the effort as well.

The Rams’ cornerback also tackles community projects individually. Earlier this year, he assisted with KSDK Newschannel 5’s “A Place to Call Home” series. Finnegan shot a video with Anika, a 15-year old girl in a foster home, looking for a family to call her own. After a tour of the facilities, the two shared a game of catch on the field of the indoor facility of the ContinuityX Training Center. As an added bonus, Finnegan invited Anika and her foster family to a Rams game during the season.

Finnegan brought leadership and strong play to the Rams defense, but he also had a profound impact on the community. A feisty defender on the field, Finnegan has brought the same passion to his off-the-field efforts.

Cortland has brought a new energy to the Rams,” said Molly Higgins, Rams’ vice president of corporate communications/civic affairs. “He is the type of guy who you want in the community representing your organization. We are really looking forward to 2013, and helping him build on his off-the-field efforts from year one with the Rams.”

About the Rams Community Player of the Week
Each week during the 2012 season, the St. Louis Rams will select a player who has made a positive impact on the Greater St. Louis community, giving of himself off of the field. Each honored Rams Community Player of the Week will receive a gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the Official Steak House of the St. Louis Rams.