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Career-ending neck injury sobering reminder for Packers

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Packers had barely gotten to know Johnathan Franklin, when the second-year running back’s career was cut short by a neck injury.

But for those who knew him longer, the injury was a reminder of how fleeting an NFL career can be.

Packers defensive end Datone Jones was recruited at the same time and played at UCLA with Franklin, and was stopped in his tracks by yesterday’s news.

“I talked to him and he said I keep my faith first. I believe if this wasn’t it, it was a sign from God that I may have to pursue something else in life,” Jones said, via Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The run was great. We all know coming into this game any day your career can be over. It was sad for me because not only is he my neighbor, he’s one of my good friends I’ve known since high school. I know how much we worked for it, even this offseason, how much we worked for it. It’s tough to see it end this way for a guy like that.”

Other players got the news by text.

“We were definitely sad,” running back Eddie Lacy said. “He shot everybody in the running back group a text and it just makes you cherish the moments that you get to play. We came in together, we got to know each other real good and we spent a lot of time together. He was just starting, and just like that, as fast as you get it, it can be taken away.”

That lesson shouldn’t be lost on anyone who plays football for a living.

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25 Responses to “Career-ending neck injury sobering reminder for Packers”
  1. niners816 says: Jun 20, 2014 2:31 PM

    Can’t stand the Packers, but I do feel sorry for this dude. At least he is upbeat up about it and realizes that he was blessed with a gift to play in the NFL. No one likes to see injuries, no matter what team you root for. Good luck in your future, man!

  2. greenbay4ever says: Jun 20, 2014 2:38 PM

    I was expecting big things from Franklin but it’s just a game. Sad to see his career cut short. Good luck to him.

  3. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Jun 20, 2014 2:43 PM

    Heartfelt sympathy to Franklin and to Packers fans. I hate to see anyone go out this way. I remember how much it sucked when David Pollack was lost to a neck injury.

  4. thepftpoet says: Jun 20, 2014 2:51 PM

    Jonathan Franklin was a star in the making too.

    Hope he has a great life outside of football.

    He was way better than Eddie (Trent Richardson 2.0) Lacy.

  5. adoombray says: Jun 20, 2014 3:05 PM

    Packers haven’t had anything resembling luck Rodgers entire career.

    Allah Barakfeek to Franklin.

  6. leo133074 says: Jun 20, 2014 3:24 PM

    A sign from god? Thanks a lot god!

  7. clashpoint says: Jun 20, 2014 3:27 PM

    I hope it’s not lost on football fans, either. Think about Franklin every time a millionaire player demands more money from a billionaire owner. Even the worst owners make more money than all the players on their team combined, and they never risk anything. It’s the players who play the games we watch on TV, they deserve their money.

  8. ariani1985 says: Jun 20, 2014 3:30 PM

    I am sure our little little sister to the east will find a plethora of free agents from Tee Tong State to step in.

  9. ibakaflakaflame says: Jun 20, 2014 3:32 PM

    Remember Terrance Murphy retiring for the Packers after his rookie or second season with a similar injury after a hit by Thomas Davis. Looked him up he is doing real estate. Best of luck Johnathan.

  10. dietrich43 says: Jun 20, 2014 3:55 PM

    I hope the next step in his life’s work is more fruitful than his NFL career was.

  11. 34defense2014 says: Jun 20, 2014 4:00 PM

    At this point does it really matter who is the better Halfback? I feel for ya! Stay positive and good luck with your second career!!!!

  12. wiskybuck says: Jun 20, 2014 4:21 PM

    Hope he didn’t have $15,000 restaurant tab last year during his rookie year…he could use that. Maybe veterans should see something like this of an example of how short a career can be.

  13. tokyofilthblaster says: Jun 20, 2014 4:22 PM

    He played for the 13 time World Champion Green Bay Packers, and leaves with a 100 yard rookie game to tell his grandkids about.

    Good luck Johnathan.

  14. simonator917 says: Jun 20, 2014 4:39 PM

    I just wish Jermichael Finley takes a page from this story and retires before it’s too late.

  15. themeccalambeaufield says: Jun 20, 2014 4:40 PM

    Why is jealousy so bad regarding a game that an article has to be trolled with insults when a guys career has unfortunately ended short? Have some class.

  16. filthymcfunny1 says: Jun 20, 2014 4:41 PM

    What is it with the pack and kneck injurys are they being coached wrong!

  17. Aaron Rodgers Has Tiny Hands says: Jun 20, 2014 4:55 PM

    He played for the mediocre 8-7-1 Green Bay Packers, but at least he has that 100-yard game to tell his grandkids about.

  18. patsfan13 says: Jun 20, 2014 4:58 PM

    Remember Daryl Stingley? One hit and anything can happen.

  19. Reynolds says: Jun 20, 2014 5:07 PM

    Between Nick Collins, Jermichael Finley, and Johnathan Franklin, the Packers have had awful luck with neck injuries.

  20. alshonbrandontandem says: Jun 20, 2014 5:09 PM

    What’s his rookie card worth now? 2¢?

  21. mypercyhurts2 says: Jun 20, 2014 6:22 PM

    themeccalambeaufield says: Jun 20, 2014 4:40 PM

    Why is jealousy so bad regarding a game that an article has to be trolled with insults when a guys career has unfortunately ended short? Have some class.
    _______________________

    These are Viking fans, class is not gonna happen.

  22. golforepar says: Jun 20, 2014 6:28 PM

    alshonbrandontandem says:

    Insulting during a career ending injury? Get a clue, Son!

  23. tangysizzl says: Jun 20, 2014 10:07 PM

    The Packers were 8-8-1 last year because that mediocre 8-7-1 was enough to make the playoffs. They then lost by 3 points in a last second FG to a team that’s supposedly so much better than them.

    If your gonna talk smack, at least get your facts straight.

  24. dragonflypack says: Jun 21, 2014 4:56 PM

    Can’t stand the 49ers either. Back at you. Your owner moved S.F.’s team to San Jose. S.F. supported their team for generations and the greedy owner ……. same old story. Max profits are more important than fan support and tradition. You’re the looser. Now in GB it’s a whole different story based on fan support and the love of the game. Not the love of profit. Go support your rotten, money grubbing, miser owner. And go away. We don’t like your post or opinion of our better team.

  25. nrns77 says: Jun 23, 2014 2:00 AM

    Sucks for him, but let’s be honest … he was not a RB on this team. Lacy, Starks and Harris are all better. No place for him on this team really. Makes it an easier decision for the coaching staff. Buh-bye.

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