Christian Hackenberg didn’t blame James Franklin, NFL execs say

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Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg made some headlines recently when he allegedly laid the blame for his struggles in college on Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin, who coached the former five-star talent his sophomore and junior years, but a report by Jenny Vrentas of MMQB states that four NFL officials are reporting that Hackenberg did not blame his coach for his struggles.

“His answer was that he didn’t play as well, and there were things he needed to get better at,” one head coach said. One senior executive said he was impressed that Hackenberg didn’t throw Franklin under the bus, despite questions that set him up to do so. Another team decision-maker said he could read between the lines that Hackenberg and Franklin weren’t especially close, but that Hackenberg did not blame his coach. During Hackenberg’s 12 formal interviews at the combine, some teams pushed that button harder than others and some may have interpreted his answers differently. Hackenberg doesn’t believe he left any room for interpretation.”

This is certainly an interesting development, as Hackenberg notably thanked everybody EXCEPT Franklin when he initially declared for the NFL Draft earlier this year. Hackenberg later downplayed that issue and said that he simply forgot, and that he thanked Franklin privately.

We could go on and on about Hackenberg and his supposed strained relationship with Franklin, but the fact remains that neither man is going to throw the other under the bus at any point this year, if ever at all. Thus, speculation over Christian Hackenberg’s relationship with his former coach is going to remain exactly that: speculation and nothing less.

Stay tuned to Campus Sports for further updates from Hackenberg’s path to the NFL!

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports