An inspirational and emotional leader and talented linebacker from Norwood, Mass.Fincher, close friends with former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky, was instrumental in leading the Huskies to their first bowl game, the Motor City Bowl in 2004.
"Finch" made 357 tackles from 2001-04 -- sixth on the Huskies career list. He also had 35.5 tackles for a loss. He led the team with 140 tackles his senior year and earned All Big East Conference honors.
NFL highlights: Fincher was selected in the third round (82nd overall) by the New Orleans Saints in the 2005 draft and played three seasons with the Saints. In 2008 Fincher was in Detroit briefly before finishing the season with the Washington Redskins. He was waived in the spring of 2009. He played for the New York Sentinels of the United Football League last year. The Sentinels are now Hartford's UFL team. Fincher is a free agent with a zest to continue playing.
Life after UConn: The 6-foot-1, 238-pound, rock-solid Fincher still had NFL aspirations when he was at UConn in April as an honorary coach for the 2010 Blue-White Spring Game at Rentschler Field.He said he will think about going forward if he doesn't catch on with an NFL team.
Fincher, 26, displayed the same exuberance that defined him as a player in Storrs. He was a sticker who loved the fans and he loved to play for them. Whether they were praising him and the defense or not Fincher just wanted to hear the fans -- period.
It was his way of knowing they cared.
"When you go out there every day and practice -- and when you get a scholarship you're playing for the university and your teammates -- but the game is about the fans," Fincher said before the April 17 Spring Game. "You're playing for the fans. You're playing for the excitement of the game and for the cheering. We feed off of them. I know as a defensive player, every play that we made, good or bad, whatever, I was trying to feel the fans so we could get revved up. Even if we did bad I'd want to hear it: 'you guys need to pick it up.' "I love it."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun