Third former Cat joins NFL ranks
FUTURE CHEESEHEAD n Former Meridian High and Delta State football standout Jason Franklin (left) talks with Q-101 disc jockey Fleetwood (right) on Monday. Franklin was not selected during this weekend's NFL draft but was extended a free agent contract from the Green Bay Packers on Monday. He is the third former Meridian High player summoned this year along with Kenyatta Walker and Kenny Smith. Photo by Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
April 24, 2001
Meridian High will add a fourth player to the National Football League, after all.
Jason Franklin, a former Meridian High Wildcat and the top receiver for the current Division II National Champion Delta State Statesmen, endured two long days of the NFL draft, only to see himself not get picked during the seven-round affair.
Monday morning, however, Franklin got his redemption as the Green Bay Packers extended him a contract and an invitation to rookie camp this weekend.
Franklin said a few minor details will be have to be worked out but said he plans to have the contract signed before he departs for Green Bay Thursday. The Packer organization refused to officially comment until all details were finalized.
In a bizarre twist, the Sunday National Sports Transactions for Monday newspaper editions had Franklin signing with the Indianapolis Colts.
But Franklin said he had no intention of inking with Jim Mora's club.
Franklin pointed out that the Colts' stable is full of receivers and the Packers only drafted one true receiver this weekend.
Franklin said he has an excellent chance to battle Robert Ferguson who was pegged out of Texas A&M, for the Packer's fourth receiver slot with Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder and Donald Driver. They have proven guys on the roster, but I'm not worried about them. It's my job to go in and earn my spot."
Franklin figured being drafted was a long shot, but he had faith that he and his family would indeed receive a blessing for being patient. That blessing came Monday.
But, he's certainly glad the way things turned out.
Also Franklin said the prospect of playing with fellow Mississippian Brett Favre makes the situation all the more enticing.
Franklin, who runs a 4.39 in the 40, said he is anxious to learn much from the veteran Freeman. "I just want to learn what he knows, so I can contribute for the team."
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. You can call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.