Updates from Friday, June 20
The Packers released Franklin on Friday, per an official announcement on the team's website:
The Green Bay Packers have released RB Johnathan Franklin. The transaction was announced Friday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.
"It’s never easy releasing a player, but it's especially difficult when a young man's opportunity is taken away from him because of an injury,” Thompson said. “Johnathan is a great person, a wonderful teammate, and a man that lives by his faith. The Packers are fortunate to have had the chance to work with him and we know that he will excel in whatever the future holds for him. He will always be a member of the Packers family.”
Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin's rookie season came to an abrupt end in 2013 due to a neck injury. Now, it appears that injury will keep Franklin out for 2014 and beyond.
According to Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy had some unfortunate news regarding Franklin's status:
McCarthy: "Unfortunate news about Johnathan Franklin ... He will not be back with us." Neck injury apparently has turned out to be major.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) June 19, 2014
Although Franklin's health will be discussed further Friday, he will not be back with the Packers:
McCarthy says Franklin's status will be addressed by organization further tomorrow but his #Packers career is over because of neck injury.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) June 19, 2014
Franklin confirmed the news on Twitter and revealed that his career may be over:
Based on that and the wording of McCarthy's announcement, it seems as though a once-promising career may be grounded barely after it started. ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky initially reported the news Wednesday:
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 suffered the injury in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings and was ultimately placed on injured reserve. It was called a concussion at first, but it turns out the injury may have been related to his neck more so than his head.
Franklin showed flashes of brilliance during his rookie campaign and seemed to have an extremely bright future in Green Bay.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report weighed in on the news regarding Franklin:
Johnathan Franklin was my No. 1 ranked RB in the 2013 draft. Hate to see his career ended so soon by injury.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) June 19, 2014
He has undergone a battery of tests to determine his status moving forward, and McCarthy has been extremely impressed by his attitude through it all, per Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
MM: Franklin is a class act. Remember his smile and energy, way he handled this whole process of going through tests.— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) June 19, 2014
Despite the difficult situation Franklin finds himself in, he has remained positive on social media:
I'm thankful for all the prayers and positive support! God has a plan and I'm trusting in it. #OneDayAtATime— Johnathan Franklin (@JFrank2308) June 18, 2014
Franklin would have been part of an impressive stable of running backs including Eddie Lacy and James Starks during the upcoming season, but extenuating circumstances have prevented that from coming to fruition.
Lacy discussed Franklin's status with Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Lacy on losing Franklin: "We were definitely sad. ...It just makes you cherish the moments that you get to play." #packers— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) June 19, 2014
More Lacy on Franklin: "He was just starting. Just like that, as fast as you get it, it can be taken away."— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) June 19, 2014
If Franklin's NFL career has indeed reached its conclusion, then many will be left wondering what could have been. Franklin is best off preserving his health rather than risking an even more significant injury, though, so that is something he and the doctors have to consider.
Injuries are unfortunately a part of football, but career-threatening ones are tough to swallow. Whatever ultimately happens with Franklin, hopefully he is able to have a great deal of success and be at full health.
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