Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg insisted to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that there are no hard feelings between himself and former coach James Franklin, whom he omitted from his NFL Draft declaration last month.
“We’re fine,” Hackenberg said, per Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive. “No hard feelings there. I think he’s doing a great job up there in terms of recruiting and getting the program headed in the right direction.”
Rumors swirled after Hackenberg’s announcement since he named two of Franklin’s assistant and not Franklin himself and given how much Hackenberg struggled in his sophomore and junior seasons following the departure of Franklin’s predecessor Bill O’Brien, with a touchdown-interception ratio of 28-21 and a completion percentage that dropped from 58.9 as a freshman to 55.8 as a sophomore to 53.5 as a junior, the possibility of a relationship gone sour was definitely possible.
However, Hackenberg said that he spoke with Franklin and thanked him in person, and also explained to reporters just why the coach was not mentioned in his declaration.
“It was one of those times where it was really emotional,” Hackenberg said. “It was a decision that was made, and I didn’t have anything written out, so what came to mind was the people I spent a lot of time with and the people that brought me to Penn State. Coach Franklin and I had a conversation in person, and I felt like that was best for our relationship to thank him on a personal level.”
That said, though Hackenberg’s character may be in question as a result of how his draft declaration went down, it appears that there is no issue between himself and Franklin. Until someone says that the relationship between both parties was toxic in any fashion, we’re just going to have to take Hackenberg at his word.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Philadelphia Inquirer