When the Greenbay Packers selected Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round of last year’s NFL draft, they thought they had quite the steal — and they did. As UCLA’s all time rushing leader and a Doak Walker award finalist, Johnathan Franklin was one of the most appealing and smart running-backs in the draft. Nicknamed “Jet-ski” for his speed, and “The Mayor” for his political aspirations (he wants to, one day, be mayor of Los Angeles), he made his talent apparent to everyone.
Many thought Johnathan would thrive at the next level — mostly due to his intuitive cutting abilities and patience behind a blocker. While he did find some success, it was short-lived. One game. One hundred and three yards rushing. One touchdown. One fumble. A game costing fumble on 4th and 1 that the Bengals returned for a touchdown to win the game.
Most people saw it as just one play. In fact, most saw that game as a breakout one for Franklin, and hoped the Packers coaching staff would play him more. The coaching staff, however, saw it as a defining moment, and we saw less and less carries from Franklin as the weeks went by.
Then The Mayor suffered a neck injury that set him back — but it didn’t seem to be of huge concern. In fact, after the hit that caused it all, I asked him if he was feeling better, to which he responded, “Yeah, a lot better”. On that note, I went on with my day, making nothing more of the hit that just that — a hard hit. But news broke in recent days that the Packers were worried about Franklin’s status going forward. They said that doctors may not clear him to play in the upcoming season. The news seemed bad, but we got worse news that we could have suspected on the afternoon of June 19th.
Franklin announced his medical retirement via social media.
We all knew Franklin was a mature young man with loads of talent — often getting by through his faith in god. Who would have known, however, that he would remain faithful and in control during such tough times. It is a depiction of his character and faith, to which the Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said,
“Anybody that’s had a chance to get to know him on and off the field, he’s a class act. You’ll always remember his smile and energy — so positive, his outlook. Just the way he handled this whole process of going through all the different tests and so forth. But his situation will be addressed tomorrow by the organization.”
Here at Go Joe Bruin we wish Franklin the best in his future endeavors, and hope that he finds something he loves to do — even if its not playing football.