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.