Warning: If you’re squeamish about nasty injuries (like me) and don’t want to lose your Thanksgiving appetite, click out of this now and definitely don’t look down. Hope it’s not too late.
Now, if you’re into the physicality of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, this is for you.
Perhaps nothing screams Baltimore-Pittsburgh more than Art Jones’ crooked right ring finger. Jones will wear it as a badge of honor into Thursday night’s game.
“It symbolizes the violence of this game and any means necessary to get the job done,” Jones said.
The finger is dislocated, and would require either a metal pin that would prevent him from bending it (not an option), or a fake knuckle that would necessitate major surgery and would only be somewhat aesthetically better.
You can’t simply re-break it and set it. Doctors have tried splinting it and taping it, but to no avail.
“It still gets banged and it gets worse and worse,” Jones said with a smile, looking at it.
Jones is far from the first football player to have a finger like that. Former wide receiver Torrey Holt may have the gnarliest. But 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has one too (John does not).
“This finger is a trophy,” Jones said, comparing it to a proud wrestler with cauliflower ear.
“My finger is something I’m going to have for the rest of my life. It’s something that’s going to remind me of the great times I’ve had playing in the NFL and all the effort and sacrifices I’ve made for the game.”
Jones suffered the injury in just his second NFL game in 2010 when facing the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 19. It was the first play of the game when he went to pass rush, and his finger somehow got caught in the opposing guard’s jersey.
“I tore it off and it was hanging in my glove,” Jones said.
Not everybody loves the finger as much as Jones. A little kid in the community stopped short when going to high five him. “They were like, ‘Oh my God, what’s wrong with your hand?’”
Fellow defensive lineman
“It’s ugly, man. It’s nasty,” he said. “It’s like he’s got feet for hands. He needs to get that [stuff] fixed.”
Nah, Art feels he’s beautiful just as he is. And in the context of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, his hand may just be the most beautiful thing on the field.
“I love it,” Jones said. “It’s part of me.”