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Report: Packers Fear Johnathan Franklin's Neck Injury Could Be Career-Threatening

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Report: Packers Fear Johnathan Franklin's Neck Injury Could Be Career-Threatening

As part of a larger article on Green Bay Packers players suffering through injuries of various severeties this offseason, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com shared some revealing information on the status of second-year running back Johnathan Franklin:

Perhaps the biggest concern is about Franklin, the fourth-round pick from UCLA who finished his rookie season last year on injured reserve following a neck injury. The Packers are worried that Franklin's neck injury might be career-threatening. According to two people with knowledge of his situation, the Packers are putting Franklin through more tests to determine whether it's safe for him to continue playing.

Franklin's health status has been largely kept under wraps since being placed on I.R. following Week 7 in October of last season.

The Packers valued Franklin's skill set enough to trade up for him in last year's draft despite taking Eddie Lacy just two rounds earlier. As a smaller, shorter and shiftier back, the line of thinking is that he might be an ideal complement to the powerful Lacy.

Franklin showed how much potential he had in a Week 3 performance against Cincinnati last season when he ran for over 100 yards on just 13 carries as Lacy, James Starks and John Kuhn all sat out with injuries.

Unfortunately for Franklin, his season ended not long thereafter, also suffering a concussion on the same play as his neck injury.

Perhaps there was writing on the wall when the Packers showed their allegiance to Starks a two-year deal worth $3.25 million in the offseason.

On top of that, the Packers perhaps unexpectedly signed two successful college running backs as undrafted free agents in Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins.

Certainly, they're creating a high amount of competition at running back and piecing together the best roster possible, but maybe they also made such moves with a knowledge in the back of their heads that Franklin may never play again.

While the specifics of Franklin's injury go unrevealed, the Packers can hardly be blamed for erring on the side of caution with Franklin during the offseason.

There's more than a month until training camp gets underway in late July, so there's still plenty of time for Franklin to be potentially cleared.

If and when Franklin remains out in training camp, concern about his professional career will become heightened.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (40) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

3RDigraphics's picture

Welp. Not surprised really, the Packers have been really coy on Franklin in general ever since they put him on IR last year.

the real russ letlow's picture

after the injury, someone commented on an article that they were at the game when Franklin was injured. He said the sound, from his seat in the stands, was sickening. He also thought that the opposing player would be fined for the "earhole shot". Lastly, he said then that he thought the injury might be bad enough to end his career. That is quite the comment, and insight, but it must have been an ugly helmet to helmet hit.

Jordan's picture

Based on McCarthy's comments today........Franklin, Worthy, Perry, and Quarless might all be gone. I don't think Franklin's only issue is his neck, but I could be wrong.

It's usually not a very good ending if McCarthy calls you out in the media. Although Starks was called out in the media a few years ago and he survived and thrived.

Worthy's comments last year about wanting to "showcase his talents" is something a player says who is auditioning for other teams.

real some guy's picture

what were MM's comments about them? I'd be surprised if Quarless and Perry were gone. Worthy as well...

any word on what their issues are? strange...

Evan's picture

Yeah, I missed those comments too, but I'd be beyond shocked if Quarless, Perry and Worthy weren't all on the team this year.

4thand1's picture

Yeah, sounds like a huge steaming pile of shit to me too.

RC Packer Fan's picture

That has been my fear with Franklin. Most know I have been very high on him as a player. My biggest concern with his injury was if it were career threatening.

Right now i will say he will likely be taking the Sean Richardson approach at best? Be put on PUP list and possibly added to the roster at midseason?

I'm still hopeful that his injury isn't as bad as they think it is and that they are being very cautious with it.

Evan's picture

I just want to know what the hell it is. There is being coy and then there's this.

RC Packer Fan's picture

That is exactly how I feel as well... Last fall when it happened, it didn't sound as if it were that serious when it happened. And now Rob reports this.

I haven't heard anything regarding it. I mean did he have surgery? I haven't heard that even.

COW's picture

Hmmmm, I seem to remember one of us disliking the Franklin pick because he was too small/frail to play in the NFL.

Anyone remember who that might have been?

No big loss.
Harris is a much better player.

4thand1's picture

Like Mike Utley, J Finley, S. Sharpe, and a host of others who had career ending neck injuries. They weren't small you douche. you still suck.

Stroh's picture

Too bad for Franklin, but I was never that high on the guy either. He certainly wasn't destined for stardom or anything. Just means he gets a head start on his bid to become the mayor of Los Angeles. It hasn't changed his quality of life if he has to retire and it won't affect the Packers a bit either. He's behind Lacy, Starks and Harris and was at most a bit player.

4thand1's picture

I disagree. He has speed and quickness, There's no substitute for speed. I think he would have done some pretty good things in their offense. We may never know.

COW's picture

1 - "We may never know." Wrong. Stroh knows.
2 - He was Whisper Goodman 2.0

Stroh's picture

I think Harris has more potential that Franklin does, not matter if Franklin is forced to retire or not. He runs much stronger and more physical. Plus Harris has the look of a really good KR who may even prove to be a good PR. IMO Franklin was going to struggle to find any role in the Packer Offense. Lacy and Starks will get the vast majority of the carries, Harris deserves some carries too and could earn more if he is a good return man. I don't see Franklin moving beyond any of those 3 and getting opportunities.

RC Packer Fan's picture

'IMO Franklin was going to struggle to find any role in the Packer Offense.'

Stroh, i respectfully disagree with you on this one. I think they were going to find a way to get him more involved in the offense. I think they were going to try and get him more involved in the passing game. I really thought that he would have been perfect in a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles type of role, where he can be a receiver out of the backfield. His speed and shiftiness in the open field could add a whole new dimension to the offense.

He doens't have to get carries to be effectively used in this offense.

Stroh's picture

I don't think they were going to find a way to get him anything. They are going to make him earn a role, which hasn't done. Harris is a good receiver too, no reason he can't take the Sproles type role. And Harris is a lot more like Sproles than Franklin is. Franklin had trouble catching punts and was terrible returning kicks (unlike Sproles or Bush). Harris did both in college.

Allan Murphy's picture

dang cow they dont like you much but i would have to agree with you just this one time .

BradHTX's picture

Let me get this straight... This guy may have suffered a career-ending injury and you say "No big loss"?

My God, man, what an incredibly insensitive thing to say, you steaming pile of you know what. Guess the shoe is on the other foot, eh? Lyerla is a turd, but you can shoot your ridiculous mouth off whenever you want?

And furthermore, you're wrong. 100+ yds on 13 carries against one of the better defenses in the NFL proves Franklin COULD play. Yes, he is small, and yes, he suffered a devastating injury, but that is not a causative relationship when the injury came from a helmet-to-helmet hit that would have knocked out Gilbert Brown; it isn't even a correlative relationship. Sorry if that's too logic-oriented for you.

Jackass.

Clay's picture

Franklin's height weight: 5'10" 205

Harris' height weight: 5'9" 203

You stupid insufferable d bag.

COW's picture

Don't care what the numbers say.
I've been to practice.
I've seen the 2 of them next to each other.
Franklin is very slender.
Harris is built like a boulder.

And it's one thing to pick a little guy up off the street... it's a whole other thing to trade up into round 4 to get one.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Franklin was projected to go in the 2nd round by many. They got him in the 4th. Good value.

Stroh's picture

Harris' combine page had him officially at 5'7, not5'9. Teams are known to exaggerate the combine is the best number to go by. Harris is significantly shorter and squattier than Franklin.

PackerBacker's picture

Squattier?

Mojo's picture

BradHTX said what I was thinking. Here you have Cow, steam rising from his poll about Lyerla's Sandy Hook comments ... and yet show absolutely no empathy for a young man who's entire career and life long dream may be over. Instead he pounds his brisket, declaring to all how prescient he was about Franklin. Instead we get "no big loss" and "meh".

Sorry, but you just fell off any moral high-ground you may have thought you were walking on.

Mojo's picture

Oh ... and I forgot how Cow skewered Packer fans who were getting excited about what Lyerla could do for the TE group. Selling out their principals in the hope the Packers could field a better team.

Yet, Cow has no problem with a player sustaining what could be a career ending injury as long as another player he likes better takes his place and, in his opinion, allows the Packers the opportunity to field a better team. IT"S THE SAME EXACT THING!

Hypocrite!

COW's picture

Not anywhere near the same thing.
Guys get hurt in the NFL all the time.

Guys don't publicly pour salt on the wounds of people who have just had their children murdered all the time.

Franklin'll walk away with a boatload of money and the rest of his life in front of him.

Those Sandy Hook Parents will never have their kids back.

Glad to hear very little about Lyerla's camp.
Hope it means not making the grade.

Nick Perry's picture

Even Cow couldn't have believed he was ever on any "moral high ground". He's been making comments to get a rise from Packer fans since I started visiting this site. Cow's a keyboard warrior, just like a few others here that resort to insults and name calling. Karmas a mofo, they'll get theirs one day. Thanks BradHTX and Mojo for saying the right things.

COW's picture

I've never insulted or name - called.
Simply voice my opinion.
Sorry it doesn't match yours.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I have to say this really does bum me out. The kid has a spark. Now I see why they added some others and why Harris is looking better all the time.

COW's picture

He had one nice run vs the Bengals. Is that the "spark" you're referring to?
Other than that... meh.

jmac34's picture

tbf, Franklin was never given that much of a chance outside of that Bengals game in which he averaged over 4 yards a carry even without the long run. He definitely needed some time to learn how to block better as his real talent seemed to be best suited as a pass catcher. He had talent and it will be a shame if he never gets a chance to show that he could tap into it

ben's picture

2014 53 Man Depth Chart
TRADE: Scott Tolzien(QB), Davonte Adams(WR), 2015Round4 } for { Cleveland's: 2015Round1(Melvin Gordon)

QB: Rodgers, Flynn
RB: Lacey, DuJuan, Starks, LaMichael James(KR)
FB: Kuhn
WR: Cobb, Jordy, Boykin, Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Harper
TE: Quarless, Colt Lyerla, Stoneburner, Bostick, Richard Rogers
OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga, Barclay, Sharrod, Corey Linsley
DL: Daniels, Neal, Raji, Datone, Boyd, Khyri Thornton, Jolly
LB: Peppers, Hawk, Matthews, Perry, Lattimore, Jones, Carl Bradford, Mulumba
CB: Shields, Davon, Heyward, Demetri Goodson, Tramon
S: Burnett, Hyde, Richardson, Hasean Dix, Banjo
ST: Crosby, Masthay

zeke's picture

Wow. Adams must not have impressed you during OTAs. Did his shorts fall down or something?

jmac34's picture

I will never understand your fascination with Lamichael James and that is quite the trade to pull out of your behind

Evan's picture

Trading a 2nd round draft pick after 3-4 months? This is a new level of idiocy.

RC Packer Fan's picture

WOW... McCarthy's press conference revealing that Franklin will not be back with the Packers.

Thats tough. I feel really bad for Jonathan. I saw a lot of talent in him, and thought he could have been a great player for the Packers.
Unfortunately we won't ever know what he could have done.

Evan's picture

Indeed, very unfortunate.

Evan's picture

Apparently he's done. Officially.

@BrianCarriveau
MM on Johnathan Franklin: I have some unfortunate information on Johnathan Franklin.... He will not be back with us.

Sad news, regardless of what you thought of his talent.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Completely agree.

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