Franklin clears waivers after being released

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Former Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin fields a punt during training camp last August.

Former Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin cleared waivers on Monday and is free to sign with any NFL team.

This comes as no surprise given the realization last week that the 24-year-old's NFL career likely is over because of the neck injury he sustained on the opening kickoff of the Packers' 26-26 tie against Minnesota on Nov. 27.

However, the move allows Franklin to sign with another team should anything change. His agent, Kenny Zuckerman, told Press-Gazette Media last week they have consulted with five experts, but plan to seek out more opinions.

Although Franklin hasn't had surgery, the Packers didn't feel comfortable with what recent tests had shown. They released him on Friday with a failed physical designation.

The financial ramifications of Franklin's release still aren't certain, but the Packers will assume a $101,367 hit 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.

"The team, they feel bad for him," Zuckerman said last week. "They're not happy with it, but they are doing everything they can to make sure he is taken care of the best he can."

A fourth-round pick in last year's draft, Franklin ran for 107 yards and a touchdown in his only season with the Packers.

Most of that production came in relief of an injured James Starks in the Packers' 34-30 loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 22 when he rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries in the second half, the most in team history by a rookie running back in his first game with a rushing attempt. and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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