The Green Bay Packers find themselves in a situation that is unfortunately all-too familiar to them. It was announced today by head coach Mike McCarthy that running back Johnathan Franklin will not return to the team in 2014 due to a neck injury he suffered late during his rookie season. Mike Vandermause from the Green Bay Press-Gazette shared the news after today’s mini camp practice.
Franklin was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft and had a very productive day in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, rushing for over 100 yards and a score. He had just six carries the rest of the season after some issues with ball security.
The Packers drafted both Franklin and Eddie Lacy last season to boost the running back position. Franklin sat behind Lacy, who was the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year, and veteran James Starks. Franklin was expected to be in the mix this season and had even taken some reps as a kick returner, which he also did during the 2013 season.
Franklin’s departure leaves the team with Lacy, Starks, DuJuan Harris, John Kuhn, Michael Hill, Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins at the running back position.
Franklin tweeted out a thanks to his supporters from his Twitter account today.
This is just another in what is becoming a long string of neck injuries in Green Bay. In 1994, wide receiver Sterling Sharpe was forced to retire after his injury. The Packers have also lost receiver Terrence Murphy and safety Nick Collins to neck injuries over the past decade.
Both Jermichael Finley and Johnny Jolly are currently recovering from neck injuries suffered last season while with the Packers. Both are still free agents.
To get into a discussion about the rash of neck injuries that have hit the Packers over the past three years is another topic by itself but it’s noteworthy that the team has dealt with more than their fair share during that time.
No official roster move has been made yet and no speculation on who will take Franklin’s spot yet.
Here is Vandermause’s tweet announcing the news on Franklin:
MM: Jonathan Franklin will not be back with us due to neck injury.
— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) June 19, 2014
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: