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Packers Rookie Running Back Johnathan Franklin Ineligible for OTAs

One big name from the Packers' 2013 draft class will be limited in his availability for the team's off-season program.

Stephen Dunn

A little-known rule in the NFL's regulations is apparently going to prevent three rookie Green Bay Packers from participating in the team's Organized Team Activities this spring. As ESPN's NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert pointed out, rookie draft choices and free agent signees are not allowed to take part in OTAs until after their final exams are finished, and this appears to affect one Packer in particular.

That rookie is running back Johnathan Franklin, whose finals at UCLA last until June 14th. According to the rules (broken down here by ESPN's Mike Sando), Franklin can participate in the rookie minicamp and the Packers' mandatory three-day minicamp from June 4-6, but he may not join the team for any other activities (namely, OTAs) until his final exams are complete.

Seifert notes that the Packers' first-round pick, defensive end Datone Jones, has already graduated from UCLA and is not subject to these limitations. As for the team's other draftees, I looked into their schools' posted exam dates to verify that there will not be any other potential conflicts:

Round Player Position School Last Exam Date Conflict?
1 Datone Jones DE UCLA N/A (graduated) No
2 Eddie Lacy RB Alabama May 3 No
4 David Bakhtiari OL Colorado May 9 No
4 J.C. Tretter OL Cornell May 17 No
4 Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA June 14 YES
5 Micah Hyde CB Iowa May 17 No
5 Josh Boyd DT Mississippi St. May 3 No
6 Nate Palmer OLB llinois State May 10 No
7 Charles Johnson WR Grand Valley St. June 19* Maybe*
7 Kevin Dorsey WR Maryland May 17 No
7 Sam Barrington ILB South Florida May 3 No

As you can see, there is one other player who may be subject to these restrictions: wideout Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State. However, this is the exam deadline for the so-called "Spring/Summer" class session, which is separate from the Winter session. It is highly likely that Johnson is not enrolled in classes during this time, and would therefore not be subject to these restrictions. In fact, he tweeted that he reports to Green Bay on the 9th (presumably of May), which would mean that he is not currently enrolled.

As such, it appears that all but one of the Packers' drafted rookies will be able to participate fully in the off-season program.

UPDATE: JUST KIDDING, EVERYBODY. Apparently Franklin graduated in 2012, like Jones, and will be eligible for the full slate of off-season workouts. Please return to your previously scheduled excitement.

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