Christian Hackenberg Clarifies Pre-Draft Franklin Comments
About two weeks ago, MMQB’s Robert Klemko reported a story concerning choice comments Christian Hackenberg made about James Franklin during pre-draft interviews with various NFL team representatives. On the surface, it seemed as though Hackenberg threw his former head coach under the bus in blaming him for his well-documented struggles at Penn State. Now, that might not be the case.
Hackenberg went on ESPN radio’s Russillo and Kanell to clarify the statements and let the public know his perspective. “I was very open with it,” Hackenberg said. “It was obviously something that I was asked pretty frequently. It was just a different situation from my first year to my next two years up there. The sanctions hammered us pretty good from a depth standpoint, and that’s kind of how I portrayed it.”
Hackenberg went on to say that he was hurt upon seeing the wave of reports that portrayed him in that light, and clarified that it was nothing more than a misunderstanding between him and NFL executives he spoke with. “Franklin knows what happened, and he’s very confident that didn’t happen,” Hackenberg said. “He knows how I feel about him, and I know how he feels about me.” The quarterback confirmed that he discussed the matter with Franklin in person while he was in town.
MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas wrote a pre-draft feature on Hackenberg that included commentary from anonymous high-ranking NFL officials. These officials refuted the notion that Hackenberg blamed Franklin at all, and helped shed further light on the incident. According to Vrentas’ report, an unnamed official left his pre-draft interview with Hackenberg “impressed” that the gunslinger stood tall between loaded questions that could’ve allowed him to unload blame on his former head coach, and praised him for refraining.
All in all, it seems as though comments regarding a rather controversial issue were blown out of proportion. Certain teams feel as though Hackenberg deflected blame, but the man himself confirmed that’s not what he’s about. With Hackenberg’s draft stock up in the air, such trivial concerns are the last thing he needs teams to worry about. Hopefully we can all just judge him on his combine and pro day performances, as it seems this issue has been put to rest.
(H/t to saturdaytraditions.com for the Russillo and Kanell find)