Franklin released, but 'always a member of the family'

Weston Hodkiewicz
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The Green Bay Packers officially released running back Johnathan Franklin on Friday, a day after the 24-year-old running back announced he won't able to return to football because of a career-ending neck injury.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson doesn't usually provide statements when he releases a player, but he raved about how Franklin handled the situation.

"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 in a statement.

"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."

The financial impact of Franklin's release isn't certain, but he will count at least $101,367 against this year's salary cap because of his rookie signing bonus. Because he was released after June 1, the rest of his cap hit ($202,734) will be absorbed as dead money in 2015.

Franklin finished his rookie season on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion and a neck injury on the opening kickoff of the Packers' 26-26 tie with Minnesota on Nov. 27.

In his only season with the Packers, Franklin rushed for 107 yards on 19 carries (5.6 avg.) with one touchdown, caught four passes for 30 yards (7.5 avg.) and totaled 82 yards on four kickoff returns (20.5 avg.). In Week 3 at Cincinnati, he rushed for 103 yards, the most in team history by a rookie running back in his first game with a rushing attempt. Franklin also had two tackles on special teams.

Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin signs autographs during last year's training camp.
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