In a move that may have helped realign the power structure in the AFC West, former Denver Broncos guard Orlando Franklin joined the division-rival San Diego Chargers as a free agent back in March. Not only did San Diego add one of the best guards in the NFL, it stole him away from the defending division champs.
In an interesting interview with Pro Football Talk’s Paul Burmeister on Wednesday, Franklin seemed to throw some parting shots Peyton Manning’s way:
“One thing I noticed immediately when I got here is that Phillip Rivers is definitely more approachable than Peyton,” the fifth-year guard said. “I don’t know if it was because I was a lot younger being that I met Peyton in my second season and now meeting Phillip going into my fifth season but definitely I will say Phillip is more approachable than Peyton (Manning).”
To say that these are surprising comments would be an understatement. Manning has no reputation for being unapproachable during what has been a Hall of Fame worthy 17-year career. Meanwhile, Rivers’ reputation proceeds him. He’s been seen as a divisive figure during his career, especially in the opinion of players on rival teams.
When breaking down Franklin’s comments one thing is clear here. He wasn’t attempting to throw shade Manning’s way. Instead, the veteran was likely answering a question as truthfully as possible. What would he have to gain from publicly insulting Manning?
Franklin signed a five-year, $35 million contract with San Diego back in March. That came on the heels of the former Bronco grading out as one of the top-13 guards in the NFL last season (via Pro Football Focus, subscription required).
If he continues to play at that level in San Diego, there’s little doubt that Franklin and Rivers will soon become best friends.
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