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Blog

Franks Is a Pro with Unfinished Business

Posted by Randy Lange on May 26, 2009 – 9:30 am

Bubba Franks’ 2008 was not the highlight of the venerable tight end’s career. Even Bubba said so.

"I got hurt pretty early, so I was kind of like a fan. I had to sit back and watch," Franks told me last week after an OTA practice. "I disliked sitting on the sideline or even standing. It’s something I really never had to do. Then all of a sudden you’re on the sideline pretty much watching the rest of the games.

"That just didn’t sit well with me. So I’m back here for unfinished business. I’ve got work to do . I’ve got a lot of things I need to prove."

It’s hard not to like Franks. He’s not afraid to converse in a vernacular that fans understand. A lot of players back away from talk about unfinished business and proving things. Franks embraces it.

And why not? The Franks we saw last year was not the Bubba of his first eight NFL seasons with Green Bay. His six catches and 47 yards were both career lows. He had no touchdown catches in a season for only the second time.

Then there was his health. In six of his first seven seasons, he rarely came off the frozen tundra. But last season, after injuring his hip on a slip in Game 6 at Oakland, he sat out eight of the last 10 games, getting in for about 20 plays without a catch in each of the December Buffalo and Seattle games.

Despite the understated debut in Green & White and his supposed venture into unrestricted free agency, there had always been a hint that he was coming back. For instance, his stall in the Atlantic Health Training Center locker room was never dismantled. Franks confirmed to me that he was figuring all along to return for Year 2.

"I was coming back all along. It was just a matter of I had to do some training down in Miami, clean up a couple of loose ends here and there," he said. "Then when they told me to come up here, I’m here. We had already discussed all that. I knew I was coming back."

The cleaning-up, head coach Rex Ryan said last week, involved another body part besides Franks’ hip.

"Bubba has a little thing with his knee. We don’t think it’s serious. Obviously we wouldn’t have signed him if that was the case," Ryan said. "The thing I’m really impressed with is the kind of leader he is, a charismatic guy. You can tell that his teammates really like him and he’s really a pro. Ed Reed called me about him, and he’s a guy whose opinion I value, and he certainly wasn’t wrong with Bubba."

That’s why Franks will probably continue to watch the Jets play some more from the sideline through the rest of OTAs and the June 9-11 full-squad minicamp, then begin practicing again at the start of training camp. For now, after the departure of Chris Baker for points northeast, he’s tutoring the rest of the team’s tight ends, a young lot consisting of second-year man Dustin Keller, newly converted Kareem Brown and undrafted free agents Andrew Davie, Rob Myers, Jack Simmons and J’Nathan Bullock.

"Most of them don’t know too much about the position. They’re young, just coming in now," said the grizzled vet. "Plus you’re only as strong as your weakest link. They’re going to be a part of this core group. We’ve got to be pretty close. They’re a bunch of good guys. Some of them area little more talented than others, but I think it’s all going to come down to how quick they can pick up the offense.

"You can’t really show what you’ve got until you know what you’re doing."

Franks knows what he’s doing and what he’s about, even though, as I kidded him, this will be his first NFL season without Brett Favre as his quarterback, whether as a Packer or a Jet.

"It’s definite. He’s not going to be back, so this’ll be my first year without him," Franks said with a chuckle. "I don’t know how it’s going to feel, but hey, we’ll see what happens."


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Posted in Randy Lange | 10 Comments »


10 Responses to “Franks Is a Pro with Unfinished Business”

  1. By wayne on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    Wish Franks well, but I don’t know that he has enough letf in the tank or if he can even make it thru camp.Enough good young TEs got drafted to cause a vet or 2 to get let go.I think there’ll be an oppty to get one of those guys.

  2. By Ira on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, Good to read that Franks feels he has some unfinished business to take care of with the Jets. While i have my concerns if he could hold up for 16 games or more [i hope] it would be huge if he can. Its going to be hard to replace Baker. Franks never looked comfortable in camp last year. Hope his health issues are behind him and he can contribute.

  3. By Ira on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    wayne, Watson will be released for sure from the Pats. I am sure the Jets will be watching the waiver wires for sure at TE and all positions. But don’t count Simmons out. He has a chance plus i think Bullock is a lock to make the practice squad. Its really something that at TE and punter the Jets have been through so many over the years. I will stick with 65 catches plus for Keller this year.

  4. By Rick Roucoulet on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    Man id take FRANKS on my team anyday but even @ his pinnacle would he even be the TE the JETS need to fit their O? No offense to him but he’s on the down side (Prove me wrong Bubba please) of his career & he’s NOT the BLOCKER the O needs unless thats what they’ll be working on – These coaches know what their doing so i shouldnt even worry – Good luck on your season Bubba.

  5. By OriginalJetfan on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    call me crazy but the idea of 290lb Kareem Brown blasting an outside LB or safety in the running game is pretty intriguing

  6. By Randy Lange on May 26, 2009 | Reply

    Original, it would be interesting but he’s lost about 30 pounds from his DE weight.

  7. By Ira on May 27, 2009 | Reply

    They are still experimenting with Brown at TE. I can’t see him playing TE except on goaline and short yardage plays. Guess he could be in the mix for a TE spot but i wouldn’t bank on it. Let him stick to playing on the defensive side of the ball. Considering they traded Coleman i thought Brown would have a chance to play DE. His size was perfect for a 3-4. But like Randy said not after a 30 drop.

  8. By Ira on May 27, 2009 | Reply

    Brad Listorti was released by the Pats. Nice size for a TE at 251 lbs and he was in camp last year and knows Schotty’s system. The Jets should consider bringing him back for another shot. Why not they have nothing to lose?

  9. By Row on May 28, 2009 | Reply

    Franks was a no-show last year. I would really like to see him thrive, but it’s not going to happen. It’s easy to make statements like that when you aren’t playing with pads. As far as us signing anyone, I sincerely doubt it. Sanchez must be going for the big payday. It really upsets me, b/c he is not a vital asset in our immediate success. Now we’re upsetting team role players, not good. Go Jets

  10. By teri on May 31, 2009 | Reply

    bubby, has come a long way in what he does from his hip to his knee and now he goin to show then that he can be there 100% and i have faith in him and what he is all about , he will come back better then ever an i believe that
    i am a small town country from ill who can tell u ever touch down he has made and how long he was with green bay an d how he was on the filed and off the field teri

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