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.