Johnathan Franklin

North Notes: Keisel, Gordon, Franklin, Suh

The Steelers have not ruled out re-signing veteran defensive end Brett Keisel, general manager Kevin Colbert told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We haven’t eliminated any players from consideration…because we don’t know what’s going to happen over the preseason, even into the season,” Colbert said. “There have been times when we’ve brought back veteran players due to injury. We won’t eliminate anybody. If we eliminated a player, we always tell a player don’t keep us in your thought process.” A reunion between Keisel, 35, and the Steelers has always seemed likely, even if doesn’t come until the end of training camp.

More from the North divisions:

  • Browns receiver Josh Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh to assist him in the appeal of his suspension, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). Suh, who helped Richard Sherman win his appeal in 2012, will work with Heather McPhee of the NFLPA in an attempt to lessen Gordon’s ban.
  • Though Johnathan Franklin was forced to retire last month due to a neck injury, the 24-year-old would like to find a non-playing role with the Packers, writes Rob Demovsky of
  • For the time being, Craig Robertson is holding on to his starting linebacker spot with the Browns, despite a challenge from rookie Chris Kirksey, Jeff Schudel of the Morning Journal writes. Robertson graded out as the fourth-worst inside linebacker in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
  • The Lions’ decision to table extension discussions with Ndamukong Suh until the offseason is precarious for both parties, according to Michael Rothstein of

Minor Moves: Waivers, Ravens, Saints

Even as the NFL enters something of a quiet period before training camps begin, teams will continue to manipulate their rosters, mostly through low-key transactions involving lesser-known players. We’ll keep track of the latest minor moves here, with the latest updates being added to the top of the list.

  • The following players have cleared waivers, making them free agents (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post): cornerback Avery Patterson, safety Dexter Moody, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, tight end Fendi Onobun, tight end Terrence Miller, and running back Johnathan Franklin. Franklin is expected to retire following a neck injury.
  • In a full article, Wilson adds that Ravens rookie linebacker Xavius Boyd has reverted back to the team’s injured reserve after clearing waivers following a failed physical designation.
  • The Saints have signed linebacker Todd Davis, who went undrafted out of Sacramento State in 2013, the team announced in a press release. We had heard this afternoon that a union between the two parties was likely. In a corresponding move, the team waived cornerback A.J. Davis (no relation) with a failed physical designation.

Johnathan Franklin To Retire Due To Neck Injury

FRIDAY, 2:29pm: The Packers have officially waived Franklin, the team announced today in a press release.

THURSDAY, 2:56pm: Agent Kenny Zuckerman says Franklin will be cut by the Packers with a waived-injured designation, and that he and his client will talk to another group of doctors “just to get peace of mind” (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of

2:23pm: Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters today, including Jason Wilde of (Twitter links), that running back Johnathan Franklin won’t return to the team — a major neck injury will end Franklin’s Packers’ career. While Green Bay’s medical staff is notoriously strict about clearing players with neck injuries, it sounds as if the injury will force Franklin to retire from the NFL.

“Unfortunately this week I have been ruled out of returning for the 2014/15 season and returning to play in the NFL,” Franklin wrote today, on his Twitter account. “But I understand God knows what he is doing and for now he has another platform for me to step upon.”

As Wilde notes, McCarthy told the media today that Franklin’s status will be further addressed and clarified on Friday, so we’ll have to wait for an official announcement on whether the running back’s playing career is over. It certainly seems as if that’s the case though, which would be a devastating turn of events for the former UCLA rusher.

Franklin, 24, was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Packers and ran well in limited action for Green Bay last season, piling up 107 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries.

NFC Links: Panthers, Bucs, Lions, Packers

We’ve taken a look at rumors from the NFC West and NFC East this afternoon. Now let’s focus on some links from the North and South divisions…

Packers Re-Sign James Starks

WEDNESDAY, 4:44pm: The Packers have officially re-signed Starks, the team announced today in a press release.

MONDAY, 9:24pm: Free agent running back James Starks is expected to remain with the Packers on a two-year contract, according to Adam Schefter, who says the deal is imminent (via Twitter).

Starks, 28, played 13 games last season (missed three with a knee injury), making one start, and had 89 carries for 493 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He rejoins a deep backfield, including Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy, second-year back Johnathan Franklin and DuJuan Harris, who showed promise in 2012 before missing 2013 because of a knee injury.