Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians once envisioned John Franklin III as a secret weapon on offense.
“He’s one of those guys who has got so much talent and athletic ability, you’re trying to find a place for him,” Arians said in 2020 according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We ran that little wildcat package with him, and he did a great job with it. He can throw.”
Then, an ACL tear ended Franklin’s 2020 season in training camp, and he didn’t get healthy in time for this year’s camp. It led to the Bucs cutting him from the roster along with guard Donell Stanley to trim the roster to 85 players.
Franklin leaves the Bucs as the only former “Last Chance U” alumnus ever to win a Super Bowl, according to ESPN. The Netflix series that featured small-college football programs documented Franklin’s experience at East Mississippi Community College in 2015.
He played for East Mississippi after two seasons at Florida State where he never saw significant game action. Franklin then transferred to Auburn for the 2016 season and played in 12 games followed by playing the 2017 season at Florida Atlantic for 11 games.
Despite splitting between quarterback and wide receiver in college, Franklin signed with the Bucs as a defensive back in 2019, per Buccaneers.com’s Carmen Vitali. He “bounced between the practice squad and active roster” in 2019, Vitali noted. The Bucs put him at wide receiver late in the season.
Franklin’s NFL career began as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2018. The team waived him in 2019 before the Bucs picked him up.
Stanley signed with the Bucs in February and participated in organized team activities before training camp. The former South Carolina standout joined the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2020, but the Dolphins waived him before the regular season.
Vitali noted that Stanley was listed as injured and Franklin failed a physical prior to the Bucs placing them on waivers.
Bucs Sign 6-Foot-7 Jake Benzinger
Indianapolis had him in training camp on a futures contract but cut him on August 10. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2020 but hit the waiver wire before the regular season.
Benzinger will help the Bucs’ offensive line depth with guard Sadarius Hutcherson recently going on injured reserve due to an ACL tear.
Tanner Hudson the Latest Injury for Bucs
Bucs tight end Tanner Hudson joined the growing list of injured Bucs on Tuesday.
Hudson had a wrist brace on and didn’t practice, according to Pewter Report. He had one of the strong performances for the Bucs in the preseason opener with five receptions and 50 yards.
The injury comes at a difficult time for Hudson as he “is battling Codey McElroy and Jerrell Adams for the fourth tight end spot” on the roster, per Pewter Report. Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate have the first three spots locked up.