It’s been said NFL players are some of the toughest athletes in the world. But one Arizona Cardinal took that adage to a whole other level this past Sunday.
On a punt return during the Cardinals loss to New Orleans, the tip of Rashad Johnson’s left middle finger was lopped off when the safety tried to tackle running back Darren Sproles.
Afterwards, the 27-year-old went to the Arizona sideline and took off his glove. The tip of the finger was still inside the glove, according to NFL.com, and Johnson continued to play. He ended the game with three total tackles, but Arizona fell 31-7.
Johnson tweeted a pic on Monday. It’s certainly one of the more gruesome and stomach churning injuries in recent memory. Johnson reportedly had surgery to shave the bone down, and infection is a bit of a concern. He also said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the fingertip had been thrown out in New Orleans.
Somehow he’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup against Tampa Bay.
The Cardinals certainly needed all the help they could get against New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, but Johnson's presence didn’t help. Brees threw three touchdowns, and Arizona is now 26th against the pass, allowing 297 yards a game.
Johnson has played his entire career in Arizona since he was taken in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Last season was Johnson’s best. In 15 games, he had two interceptions, and returned one for a touchdown.
It showed incredible dedication by Johnson to his team, and harkened back to Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott’s decision to have the tip of one of his fingers amputated so he would miss less time on the field. The former San Francisco 49er and USC Trojan star later regretted his decision.