Former ‘Last Chance U’ Star Suffers Serious Injury at Buccaneers Practice

Getty Images Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR and former Last Chance U star Johnathan Franklin

The bad news continues out of Tampa Bay. Just a day after running back T.J. Logan injured his knee, wideout Johnathan Franklin III went down with a knee injury during Bucs‘ practice and was carted off the field.

Franklin was “visibly upset” as he was carted off the field, Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report details.

Franklin, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent last season, was in the mix as the team’s fifth wide receiver.

“I think John Franklin and Cyril Grayson, some of the guys that were here, have a lot of athletic ability and speed, so they’re looking for their roles,” Arians said.

Franklin began his collegiate career at Florida State, though after his freshman season, he transferred to East Mississippi Community College where he was featured on Netflix’s Last Chance U documentary series. He then transferred to Auburn in 2017, mainly playing as a WildCat QB. He then transferred again to Florida Atlantic where he switched to wide receiver.

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Rob Gronkowski Adjusting to Florida Heat

Former Patriot Rob Gronkowski hasn’t played football in over a year and while his fitness while off the field was never in question, Buccaneers‘ head coach Bruce Arians says the tight end wasn’t ready for the heat in Florida.

“He’s probably in New England shape right now,” Arians said (Greg Auman of “He’s not in Florida shape. The heat’s kicking his ass pretty good. It’s different, man . . . I don’t think he’s ever sweat that much in his life.”

Gronk and his Tampa Bay teammates have less than a month to get in whatever shape they need to, as the Bucs open the season against the Saints on Sept 13.

The future Hall-of-Famer isn’t expected to be a focal point in the team’s offense as the team has Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard in the fold in addition to their two stud wide receivers, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Nevertheless, Gronk will play a role in Tom Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay.

Buccaneers All-In This Season (Minus One Player)

Concerns over the safety of playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic still exist and NFL players have the right to opt-out of the 2020 season. Sixty-nine players have chosen to opt-out, as Pro Football Action captures in its COVID-19 Opt-Out Tracker.

Tackle Brad Seaton is the only member of the Buccaneers on that list. Seaton, who spent 2017 and 2019 on the franchise’s practice squad, was no lock to make the roster, though he could have provided the team with depth on the offensive line.

The NFC South hasn’t had too many players opt-out. The Panthers and Saints each have two players (none of which are starters) opting out and the Falcons currently have no players choosing to sit out the season.

Brate, who was one of the participants in Brady’s drills earlier this offseason, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. Brate has recovered and the 29-year-old made a video promoting the donation of plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

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