March 5, 2015- GREEN BAY
The Green Bay Packers have signed LB Josh Francis. The transaction was announced Thursday by General Manager and Director of Football Operations
Francis, a 6-foot-0, 238-pound first-year player out of West Virginia University, played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2014 and
the Wichita Falls Nighthawks of the Indoor Football League in 2015.
Thompson has made a habit of finding undrafted guys (Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, John Kuhn to name a few, all became Pro Bowl players).
I’m not saying Josh is going to make it that big. But I know he can, if things go right.
Although the Draft isn't until the end of April, the Packers have already bolstered their team by adding someone who might jump-start the anemic special teams under
new coordinator Ron Zook.
Perhaps, he might even help fill the holes created by casting away both A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. He certainly can't do worse on special teams than what the world
saw from both Jones and Hawk in the NFC Championship game.
He’s currently in Orlando training at Tom Shaw Sports Training Camp at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Track & Field complex in Kissimmee, Florida. His training
partner is his former Mountaineer teammate and friend Bruce Irvin, the 2012 first round pick by the Seahawks whom I wanted the Packers to draft that year. Seattle
beat the Packers to that punch. And Irvin is now 3-0 versus the Packers in his 3-year career.
Like a lot of Packers, Josh is a good prson, rooted in his Christian Faith. From Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, Tramon Williams to the recently departed Davon
House, Randall Cobb to the recently-departed AJ Hawk, to Mike Neal to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (and many others), Thompson has managed to find both good players
and good people.
It’s not a coincidence that the Packers have ha as few off-field incidents as anyone has, and that they have a strong locker room year after year.
Joshua recently took some time in between his training sessions with our Brian Murphy to allow Packer Nation to get to know a few fun facts about their newest guy.
•Brian Murphy: Roller Coasters or Water Slides?
Josh Francis: ROLLER COASTERS
•B: American Idol or The Voice, or neither/both?
•B: You have to go on one of these shows, which one you most up for: Big Brother, Survivor, or The Bachelor?
•B: Comedies or Action movies?
•B: Your favorite show?
JF: WALKING DEAD
•B: Most played 3 songs on your iPod?
JF: HOUSEFIRES- “GOOD GOOD FATHER”> and “THIS LOVE”, JON THURLOW- “YOUR FAITHFULNESS”
•B: What is the first Super Bowl you can recall watching on TV? What do you remember about it?
JF: GIANTS OVER PATRIOTS, DAVID TYREE "HELMET CATCH" is the first "play" that stands out in my memory
•B: Who were your favorite players in the NFL while growing up?
JF: SEAN TAYLOR >
•B: Favorite team growing up?
•B: Favorite athlete in another sport right now?
JF: STEPH CURRY
•B: Who's the MVP this year: James Harden, Steph Curry, Lebron James, or
Mr. Triple-Double Russell Westbrook?
•B: Was football always your favorite sport, or basketball?
•B: How often do you hit fast food in a typical month?
JF: ONCE or TWICE
•B: Favorite fast food?
•B: Favorite actor?
JF: WILL SMITH >
•B: Best looking actress or singer?
JF: CAMERON DIAZ>
•B: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
JF: THE LORD>
•B: Who's your role model?
JF: MY BIG BROTHER DAX
•B: What is your typical diet like?
JF: FRUITS, VEGETABLES, LOTS OF MEAT
•B: Are you familiar with the career paths of London Fletcher & Sam Mills? (I mentioned them because they were also undrafted longshot
ILB's, too small, who turned into long-time Pro Bowlers)
• B: What did you like about playing in Winnipeg for the Blue Bombers?
JF: GREAT SYSTEM, FAST GAME, WIDE FIELDS, GOT TO RUN AROUND A LOT
•B: How does Morgantown compare to what you know about Green Bay?
JF: LOT LIKE GREEN BAY, SMALL TOWN, PEOPLE FRIENDLY, HOMEGROWN NEIGHBORHOODS
•B: You have about the same size & speed as Bobby Wagner, Navorro Bowman, and some of the top ILB's in the upcoming draft. Am I crazy
for believing you can help anchor the Packers middle as those guys do?
JF: I BELIEVE THAT I AM A WELL-VERSATILE, SIZED MIDDLE LINEBACKER, VERY INSTINCTIVE, THINK I CAN BE A GREAT FIT
TO HELPING OUT THEMIDDLE
•B: Do you love special teams, punt and kick coverage?
JF: YES! I LOVE TO RUN, USE MY ENDURANCE ALL GAME, 100 MILES PER HOUR EVERY PLAY
•B: Kevin White. He seems to be a rising star and a riser for the draft. Sounds like he could go as high as #4 overall. Did you know he
was great when you were at West Virginia?
JF: I KNEW KEVIN FOR A VERY LONG TIME, BEFORE WEST VIRGINIA. WE WENT TO THE SAME JUNIOR COLLEGE, HE'S LIKE A
LITTLE BROTHER TO ME, WE TALK EVERY DAY, HE’S A VERY REMARKABLE YOUNG MAN
•B:The Packers have 2 other guys from West Virginia, Donny Barclay and Joe Madsen, both offensive linemen who would have been
blocking you in practices. Did you know either of them well there in Morgantown?
JF: YES, I WAS ABLE TO PASS-RUSH AGAINST DONNY (BARCLAY) FOR A FEW MONTHS BEFORE HE LEFT. PRACTICED
AGAINST JOE FOR A FEW YEARS. GREAT PLAYERS, PHENOMENAL GUYS
•B: Tell us about your family
- BORN NOV. 30, 1990
- MOM IS ADRIENNE FRANCIS, RAISED BY SINGLE MOM
- DEGREE in SOCIOLOGY
- 7 BROTHERS & SISTERS. 4 ARE IN JAMAICA, 3 in the STATES.
•B: Married, kids, girlfriend...?
•B: What would you hope your career would be if not an NFL player?
JF: AFTER THE NFL, LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED A GREAT PERSON, BE THERE FOR KIDS, FAMILIES, PUTTING SMILES
ON PEOPLE’S FACES
First of all, the thing I learned is that most of us are eating fast food too often!
And not enough fruits and vegetables.
That's the difference between a world-class athlete and the rest of us. Well, one of the many differences.
While I can't agree with the Cameron Diaz answer, everything else seems winner-winner. If you
haven't listened to the music from or yet heard of Housefires, you'll be impressed.
Will Smith is a great actor, able to do action and comedy equally-effective. And music too. Parents just don't understand.
Anyway, back to the "player" Joshua Francis.
You might think he's a longshot to make the team.
Remember this, however. There's a reason Ted Thompson signed the young man.
When Thompson signed Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, John Kuhn, it sure didn't make any National headlines,
or even headlines in Green Bay. None of them were drafted. Kuhn was released off the Steelers roster in September of 2007,
and signed two days later by the Packers.
Tramon went undrafted in 2006, was signed by the Houston Texans in May, but was cut during preseason.
His dreams appeared over, until the end of November when the Packers signed him and gave him a shot.
Shields went undrafted in 2010, even with that speed, and even coming from The U, Miami.
Where would the Packers have been without Tramon and Sam the past five seasons?
They started in the Super Bowl and ever since.
Francis should have been drafted, but he didn't quit when he wasn't, and he has gained some valuable experience as a professional since being snubbed.
Everyone knows how poor these special teams have been for a long time really. Look for Francis to help lead the turnaround there this season.