Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young can tell you what pain feels like. Since November 18th, the Lions defensive player has had a middle finger that was cut to the bone. Rather than sit out or feel sorry for himself, Young soaks his finger in chemicals and participates in every Lions practice and game.
Young sustained the injury against the Green Bay Packers in the team’s November 18th game. While tackling running back James Starks, Young hurt himself, but would not know how bad until the end of the game. At the end of the game, Young removed his glove and saw the bone. He kept the injury from the team for several weeks.
When defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham saw Young’s finger, he recommended amputating it. “Willie’s got the ugliest finger I’ve ever seen in my life,” Cunningham said. He referenced Hall of Fame safety Ronnine Lott, who amputated the tip off his left pinky. Young said he considered amputation, but has seen his finger heal enough since the injury.
When first acknowledging the injury to reporters, Young said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 9.9999.” Mlive reporter Justin Rogers shared a picture of Young’s finger on his Twitter account. As Young talked to reporters, the finger was oozing.
Young was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Projected to go in the fifth or sixth round by analysts, the Lions saw Young fall to the seventh round, where they drafted him. A total of 24 defensive ends were selected ahead of the former North Carolina State player.
Young played in only two games in his rookie season. Since that time, he has been a key contributor for the Lions defense. Young has played in all 13 of this season’s game, contributing with 7 tackles. In his three year career, Young has 21 tackles and three sacks.