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Johnathan Franklin's Career with Packers Ends After Neck Injury

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Johnathan Franklin's Career with Packers Ends After Neck Injury

Fears were confirmed on Thursday when Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced during his press conference that running back's Johnathan Franklin's career with the team is over after suffering a neck injury last season.

"I have some unfortunate news about Johnathan Franklin, the organization will address this tomorrow, but all the information has come in," said McCarthy. "We've had the chance to sit down and talk to Johnathan the last couple days. He will not be back with us."

Franklin was injured in a Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 24 of last season, during which he also suffered a concussion.

Representatives of the Packers and Franklin himself have shared little to nothing about the running back's injury during the offseason.

Whether the Packers are planning on releasing Franklin or he is going to retire is unclear.

As part of a larger statement published on Twitter following McCarthy's announcment, Franklin said:

Unfortunately this week I have been ruled out of returning for the 2014/15 season and returning to play in the NFL. But I understand God knows what he is doing and for now he has another platform to me to step upon. I ask that you all pray for me during this transition.

After the Packers traded up into the fourth round to select Franklin, he went on to play in just 11 games with the Packers during his rookie season.

Franklin's professional career ended with him carrying the football 19 times for 107 yards and one touchdown. He also caught four passes for 30 yards and returned four kicks for 82 yards.

Highlighting Franklin's lone season with the Packers was a performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3 when stepped in for an injured Eddie Lacy, John Kuhn and James Starks. Franklin rushed 13 times for 103 yards.

The Packers perhaps saw the writing on the wall when looking at the moves the organization made in the offseason.

First the Packers signed backup James Starks to a two-year, $3.25 million contract in March. Then they went out and signed two productive college running backs in Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins despite seemingly having sufficient depth at the position.

"I can't say enough about him as a person," said McCarthy. He's as classy of a young man that's walked through these doors. Anybody's that's had a chance to get to know him, just on and off the field, he's a class act. You always remember his smile, his energy, and so positive, his outlook, just the way he handled this whole process of going through all the different tests and so forth."

UPDATE: Citing Franklin's agent, Rob Demovsky of reports:

Photo: Packers running back Johnathan Franklin by Kelley L Cox—USA TODAY Sports.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

This is really too bad. I feel very bad for Johnathan.

As many know I have been a big fan of his. I was very happy when the Packers got him in the 4th round in last years draft. I thought they got a steal. Most projected him to be a 2nd round pick.
I saw a lot of talent in him, and thought he could have been a very good player for the Packers. That's what I saw in him.

It is very unfortunate.

I wish Johnathan the best of luck in everything he does in the future.

ebongreen's picture

Good luck, Johnathan.

Jayme Snowden's picture

Bummed for the guy.

zoellner25's picture

Feel bad for Franklin, especially just starting out his pro career. This opens the door for the TT haters to say he busted on this 4th round pick.

JimTaylor31's picture

Very tough break for Franklin. Always seemed like a good kid. I wish him nothing the best.

Duke Divine's picture

The law of averages pendulum regarding career threatening/ending neck injuries has to swing back sometime...RIght? These guys have been dealt a tough hand. Good luck in your mayoral aspirations, Mr. Franklin.

DrealynWilliams's picture

This is more good news than bad. I don't even know the guy,but off his strong faith alone I feel he's already at peace and eager to begin his next journey in life.

I initially thought about RB #3 and how Franklin's early retirement would effect competition,but I think Harris (already) has a huge chip on his shoulder.

(In the 15-10-5 plan) We already know who will be getting the most carries,but things might get interesting later on down the line. Especially if Harris returns back to form. Harris brought a spark to the offense that Starks can't.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Ugh,just now reading over my post. It comes off as insensitive.

I didn't intend to come off that way. I was just trying to keep things in a football perspective.

Jordan's picture

Harris brought a spark that Starks can't?

We must not be watching the same games. Starks looked pretty good last year if you've looked at his tape. I'm curious. Have you looked at Starks tape or are you just going from memory?

DrealynWilliams's picture

When Harris first came around he energized the entire offense. Where was Starks that season? Starks did great this past season, but it was largely due to Lacy. When we had zero threat of a running game,Harris came in a shined. I'm not taking anything away from Starks, but he doesn't or hasn't energized the offense the same way Harris has. If I'm not mistaking,Harris has looked the best out of all RBs (Lacy,Starks,Kuhn)vs the 49ers to date.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"...I would say that's more of a spark than anything Harris has done"

How many games does Harris have under his belt?

Starks helped the Pack by providing a balance. Let's not act like Rodgers didn't play like a 99 OVR Madden player vs ATL (Division Champ.) and vs PIT (SB). Stop it.

There's excitement when the ball is in Harris' hands. So quick. So small. So shifty. And he also brings the *boom*!

DrealynWilliams's picture

"Lets not pretend that Rodgers wasn't helped quite a bit by Starks presence which led to the SB win. Stop it..."

Did I not acknowledge Starks' contribution to the (Playoff) SB run!? He provided a balance that the Pack didn't have when Grant wasn't available and B. Jax wasn't effective. We both know stats don't always tell the full story.

I'm ending it here. Harris provides spark and excitement to the offense unlike Starks. That's not saying Starks isn't good or better. But my eyes see a different Packers team when Harris is rollin' vs when Starks is rollin'.

Give me Lacy and the '13 Harris (vs. SF).....exciting

DrealynWilliams's picture

"So you don't think having a legit running game doesn't help any QB, even Rodgers? Why bother having Lacy then... "

What in the hell are you talking about!??! How did you come to that???

"Oh, that's right they tried that is '12. How'd that go? Starks was enough of a spark to help the Packers to the SB. Harris? not so much... "

Yea,you got me. I guess the two defenses ('10 vs '12) had no effect on the game(s).


DrealynWilliams's picture

No. Packers rode Rodgers' abilities (throwing,eluding free rushers,scrambling...etc),that helluva defense to a SB win. Starks ability to keep the defense honest also played a nice role. Quit trying to make it seem like I dislike Starks. That is not the case.

"Did Harris provide the spark needed to further the Packers to a SB Win like Starks did"

I don't give a damn if we had AP back there! That defense couldn't stop anything when it really mattered!

"Harris is a good RB, but he's not Starks and certainly not Lacy"

My original post simply stated Harris provided a "spark" that Starks didn't. Never said Harris was better than Starks. And why would you even bring Lacy into it? Duh???

- Starks is good. I love that he's back

-Harris is good. He brings elements to the offense that Starks nor Lacy can provide and vice versa.

That's why I said the offense looks like a different offense (for the better) when Harris is in the game. It's on tape. Look up Starks highlights vs Harris'. Starks is run,run,run. Harris is run,swing pass,check down....all of the above.

Imma Fubared's picture

I liked the kid but he was smallish like Javid Best and at the time I wondered if he could take the NFL pounding? Wish him the best hope he has a great life.

Duke Divine's picture

Harris is a spark plug, lighting rod and every other cliche that describes sure handed quick powerful shifty awesomeness.

Allan Murphy's picture


Jordan's picture

When McCarthy made his comments the other day, it wasn't looking good for Franklin. (And Rodgers revealed more of McCarthy's comments).

I'm not completely sure what they had to talk about for a "couple days". Either he's cleared or he's not. Not much to talk about really unless they were waiting on franklin to decide something.

Too bad. The guy had talent as he displayed on his college tape and in Bengals game.

ballark's picture

Thoughts and prayers for Jonathan. I'm sure this is a blow, but I have no doubt this man has a bright future ahead.

MarkinMadison's picture

I was in the believer camp - he would have been a great change-of-pace running back. Putting up over 100 yards against Cincy was no joke. Salute the man. We've seen plenty of Packers running backs who couldn't get 100 yards against anyone.

Jordan's picture

Not to mention that Bengals were ranked 3rd best in total yards on defense and something like 5th or 6th best defense (points allowed).

He definitely was the real deal.

Nick Perry's picture

I'm with you Mark, I believe he would have been a great change of pace RB for the Packers. MM was quoted right after the injury suggesting that he had planned on getting Franklin move involved in the offense the same game he'd been hurt. I was able to watch several games Franklin played in, both live and on TV. The kid was something else with the ball in his hands and seemed to be a better person. If he was only given the ball a few times a game as some suggest, he'd have showen MM reason to give him the ball more. My bet he'd have earned more. When they signed Rajion Neal I knew then Franklin was done, something wasn't being said. Franklin graduated early, he was a smart kid. He'll do many good things in life and for other people. Good luck Jonathon, you'll be missed.

erikgj's picture

Good luck Jonathan I was really looking forward to seeing you play this year. But I am thankful that your health and can enjoy a life outside football.

I'll vote for you too.

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