RB Franklin Not Returning to Packers

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Johnathan Franklin
It was announced that Franklin will not be back with the Packers due to a neck injury sustained last season

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:



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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35 thoughts on “RB Franklin Not Returning to Packers

  1. That really sucks. He had amazing potential. So when do we look at maybe finding some different strength and conditioning coaches. I know I have been whining about for at least 3 years to no evail. Just remember if you want the same results don’t change anything. The way I see it we will continue to have a rash of injuries until someone makes a CHANGE. TT and MM, change is not that scary… just do it…

    1. Really? You’re bringing up the strength and conditioning in relation to this? And here I was gonna make some wise ass remark about Franklin not stretching his spine enough…

      It does suck, though. Kid had potential.

      1. Sucks alright. Not a good start to “here’s hoping for a season without devastating injuries”. Seems like this team is snake bit. Would really be nice to see what this team is capable of with a relatively healthy team.

    2. Injuries like muscle pulls, especially the rash of hamstring pulls, can be attributed to strength and conditioning. Maybe, to a much lesser extent, ankles becoming injured when rolled, can be too.

      However, catastrophic injuries like necks, ACL tears, broken bones, and concussions are more so freak injuries that occur when bodies get put into bad positions. They really can’t be minimized through better strength and conditioning.

      I feel really bad about Franklin. Seemed to be a really good guy with a lot of talent.

    3. All due respect, but the injury to Hayward and a few others, was in the offseason when he was training w/ a specialist he hired, not by the Packers staff. So the Packers could not prevent that injury. IIRC there were a few other players that reported to training camp w/ injuries suffered during the offseason.

      If players were training w/ the Packers staff year round, you can bet the injuries entering training camp would have been much lower.

      The trainers these guys hire only want them in peak condition when they report to camp. The Packers would have them in very good shape but would have them peak for the start of the season, not peaking for the beginning of training camp. The result of it is some of the soft tissue injuries (hamstrings and other muscle pulls) is from over-training. Quite a few of the injuries suffered during training camp could have been prevented too, if the players were using the Packers trainers year round, not hiring their own trainers in the offseason.

      The Packers trainers don’t have the ability to prevent injuries in the offseason, of which there were more than just a couple last year.

      1. That’s an interesting point from Stroh. I think the other side of that coin is that we really can’t understand the level of stress these players repeatedly put on their bodies. Somebody like Matthews plays with an almost insane intensity and abandon. Whatever level of ‘shape’ the trainers get someone to be in, if he is literally giving 100% of his physical capacity with every step and little slip or hit from an opponent can push a body beyond what can be tolerated without an injury. That’s just part of football as it is played at the pro level.

        1. The amount of stress they put on their bodies is precisely what leads to the overuse injuries. The level of Matthews explosiveness is a contributing factor as well.

        2. Many hamstring injuries are caused by the hamstring being proportionally weaker than the quad. This can occur from overuse of the hamstring or over-training the quad in relation to the hamstring. Not sure what is the cause of the Packers’ rash of hamstring injuries.

          1. Really… you don’t think the trainers they hire snd the Packer trainers don’t keep an close eye on muscle strength ratios? I can assure you they do! That’s common for the general population but its not the issue w many athletes.

            1. Packers trainers are long in the tooth and do not know about muscle strength ratios and such.

  2. Regardless of Franklin’s talent ceiling, the thought of finally achieving a life-long dream only to have it ripped away from you before you even get a chance to capitalize on it is heartbreaking.

    I hope he socked away his rookie pay check and gets a very fair injury settlement. I also hope he can take that nest egg and go on to have a productive professional life after sports.

  3. Regret to receive this news. But hopefully Franklin can move on to a successful career in another profession. As for the Packers, fortunately there is depth at RB, however Franklin would have been a great weapon to have. If Harris is fully recovered we should be fine. No more injuries. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

  4. From what they did and who they picked up there had to be something up. Very sad to hear it Franklin could have really added to the team.

  5. I feel for Franklin . It’s got to be so hard for a young man ,full of potential ,to be told his NFL dream is over. Good luck to him in hid future life

  6. hate to hear this. but my question is i know this sounds greedy but what about his contract and do we get a pick for this since he was unable to come back and if we do what round . i think franklin showed in the one real game he played he was better than the 4th round in which he was drafted . just so many questions now .

    1. compensation picks are for when a player’s contract ends and he is signed by another team. doesn’t apply to players that are released

      1. i was thinking that but the way the rules have changed so much the last 3 years i had to wonder if they did not change that as well .

  7. Sorry, but not surprised, about this news. Given the way previous players were handled by the Packers, with similar injuries, we can’t be surprised.

    I am glad GB refused to expose Franklin to needless risk by allowing him to play.

  8. Jonathon Franklin was my favorite pick of the 2013 draft and I had high hopes for him. He is a man of character and integrity, the type the Packers like to draft. My heart goes out to him since he will have to make a transition from football player to something else…. I really wanted him to make it as my favorite player but perhaps he will be the best Governor California ever had. I never met Jonathon nor do I like UCLA but he impressed me as a young Packer. Please take care of yourself and I wish you luck in the future. Actually Wisconsin could use a leader like you with Walker and around.

  9. God is not a Packers fan! Franklin is being tested like Job and we are being tested like Cub fans.

  10. I thought it was a bit peculiar that the front office brought in more running backs, I guess now we know why…

  11. The Packers have had some bad luck with career-ending neck injuries over the years,starting with Sterling Sharpe. I wonder if there is something they can do to avoid this, like in pre-draft evaluations or something…

    1. It goes back well before Sharpe actually. Had a Great young LB in the Lombardi years that had a career ending neck/spine injury. Then had Tim Lewis who had his bright career at CB ended w/ one before Sharpe and now the more recent ones.

  12. The fact that they didn’t realize the extent of his injury earlier on is deeply troubling.

    Personally, I really can’t help but think about if they got the correct diagnoses on Nick Collins. If they missed the extent of Franklin’s injury, just maybe they over-extended and exaggerated Collins’?

    Just wishful thinking…

    1. Who said they didn’t realize? It’s not always possible to know immediately how – or if – a player will recover from injury.

    2. I’m guessing they knew exactly the extent of the injury all along. They just didn’t release it to the public (and why would they) until all the info was in and they had a chance to see how it responded.

  13. I know they went out of favor a few decades ago, but I’m sending the Packers a few crates of neck rolls, if anybody wants to chip in.

    1. I had to have back surgery 20 years ago because of a previous “chiropractic adjustment”. Just like doctors and conditioning coaches, they are not all created equal. Don’t generalize.

      1. Saying that a chiropractic adjustment caused you to have back surgery is really assanine. Aaron’s dad would be pissed at you.

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