The undrafted free agent rookie from Temple has earned a spot on the Tennessee Titans' roster .
"It's something I still have to deal with every day," Finch said Monday as he sat at a locker with his name taped overhead until a permanent nameplate can be added.
"I just lost my mom a couple years ago and losing my dad ... God gives us, what's the saying? ... God gives his toughest battles to the strongest, so I'm just feeling blessed."
Finch had been in training camp less than a week when his father, Gregory "Sharif" Finch, died at the age of 61. The funeral was Aug. 6, just before the Titans' preseason opener in Green Bay. Finch attended the funeral with a family that includes his 20 brothers and sisters, and then he made his NFL debut with a sack in the third quarter.
Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen said they had known about Finch's toughness and the type of young man he is since they signed him. That performance in an emotional week made everyone in the organization happy for Finch.
"It's not easy to do that," Bowen said.
Finch is one of four undrafted rookie free agents to make the Titans' 53-man roster in the final cut-down: offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie, defensive end Matt Dickerson and wide receiver Cameron Batson. The Titans open the season Sunday at Miami.
What the Titans liked when they signed the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Finch in May was his length, power, work ethic and ability to rush the quarterback. A bit raw after starting 25 of 53 games at Temple, but Finch finished his career with 14陆 sacks Authentic Randall Cobb Jersey , 32 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and the NCAA career leader with five blocked punts.
The Titans also got to see how Finch handled personal adversity up close. Finch's mother, Wendy, died of breast cancer in 2015, and that made losing his father to a heart attack even tougher. Titans general manager Jon Robinson said he's talked with Finch several times and has a good relationship with the 22-year-old linebacker.
"He's a good young man," Robinson said. "To be able to overcome some of those things, I think, speaks to his mental toughness and his ability to push through and chase this dream that he has to play professional football."
Once Finch learned he had made the Titans' roster, spreading the news to his family was easy with a group text before the phone calls poured in.
"They were happy I got this opportunity despite all the things and all the trials and tribulations I had to go through," Finch said.
Finch, who's staying in a hotel, still has to find a place to live. He's also working through an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the preseason finale and practice Monday. He can lean on teammates such as linebacker Jayon Brown as he gets used to being in the NFL. There's also prayer.
"I pray all the time talking to God and just asking him to help me and guide me through this stressful and long situation ...," Finch said. "But I'm here now, and I'm just ready to get to work."
Notes: The Titans voted Marcus Mariota and tight end Delanie Walker as offensive captains Authentic Aaron Rodgers Jersey , defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and linebacker Wesley Woodyard as defensive captains and Daren Bates as special teams captain. ... The Titans filled out their practice squad Monday, adding WR Austin Proehl, OL Coleman Shelton, DL Deon Simon and QB Logan Woodside.Follow Teresa M. Walker at teresamwalker
Sonny Gray will get at least one more chance to show he deserves to keep his place in New York’s rotation, though the Yankees are growing increasingly concerned about the struggling starter.
Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer, Yangervis Solarte reached base four times and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Gray and the Yankees 6-2 on Friday night.
Smoak connected in Toronto’s five-run second inning, when the Blue Jays batted around and put an early end to Gray’s outing.
”I am concerned but we also believe in the stuff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Gray. ”We’ve got to try and help him right the ship a little bit.”
Gray (5-7) allowed five runs and six hits in two innings, his shortest start of the season and his third straight loss.
”It’s not early in the season anymore,” Gray said. ”This is when you’re expected to go out there and contribute and get in some type of rhythm and put together solid starts back to back. I haven’t even been close to being able to do that.”
Gray lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his previous start, matching a season worst by allowing six runs in an 11-0 loss to the division-leading Boston Red Sox.
Boone said Gray will face Baltimore next week and dismissed the idea of skipping Gray to help clear his head.
”Part of it is right now we feel like he’s our best option,” Boone said.
Solarte went 3 for 4 with a walk as the Blue Jays won for the 12th time in 16 home games.
Aaron Hicks homered and had two RBIs in the opener of New York’s 11-game road trip. Hicks has hit five home runs in his past five games.
Gray retired the first two batters before loading the bases with two walks and a single. He escaped unscathed when Russell Martin struck out swinging.
Things went downhill for Gray in the second, which began with Randal Grichuk’s double. One out later, Devon Travis and Curtis Granderson hit back-to-back RBI singles. Smoak capped the inning with a two-out homer Womens Cam Newton Jersey , his 12th.
Hicks hit a solo home run in the third, his career-high 16th, then chased Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Joe Biagini came on and struck out Giancarlo Stanton looking, then got Didi Gregorius to fly out.
New York went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners stranded.
”We just didn’t get that hit to put us over tonight,” Boone said.
Gaviglio allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Gaviglio is winless in seven starts, dating to a May 25 victory at Philadelphia.
Biagni (1-5) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win, snapping a streak of 10 straight losing decisions.
Five Blue Jays relievers combined to pitch 4 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
”Our bullpen did some kind of job,” manager John Gibbons said.
Boone said finishing off hitters is Gray’s biggest challenge.
”It’s getting himself into good counts and making pitches when he has a chance to put guys away,” Boone said. ”That’s what he’s really struggled with.”
David Hale pitched 5 2/3 innings in relief of Gray, his longest career outing as a reliever. Hale allowed one run and five hits.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Sallie Gibbons, the 80-year-old mother of John Gibbons Youth Justin Tucker Jersey , threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her son. ”It made my night, that’s for sure,” said Gibbons, who got his mom to autograph the ball afterward.
Yankees: New York recalled INF Tyler Wade from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He takes the place of 2B Gleyber Torres (right hip), who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (left and right hamstring strains) allowed two runs and three hits in five innings in a rehab start at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Tanaka is expected to return to New York’s rotation next Tuesday at Baltimore. … Boone said LHP CC Sabathia will pitch the opening game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Orioles. New York will call up a pitcher from the minors to start Game 2, Boone said, with RHP Luis Cessa and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga among the candidates.
Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) felt good after a bullpen session Friday and will be re-evaluated Saturday. He has yet to begin a rehab assignment. … Utilityman Darnell Sweeney cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (13-2, 1.98) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-4, 4.03) on Saturday afternoon. Severino, who leads the majors in wins, will be pitching on extra rest thanks to New York’s off day Thursday. Happ lost to Detroit last Sunday, matching season worsts by allowing seven runs and 10 hits. The defeat snapped Happ’s streak of six straight winning decisions.