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Colts linebacker and tackling machine Zaire Franklin is a force in the middle of the Colts defense. He leads the NFL in tackles, and has been racking up big hits and big plays season after season. On Sunday against the Buccaneers, he (briefly) took on a much different role; fullback. 

Franklin lined up for one snap at fullback on a 4th-and-inches in the 4th quarter, with the Colts up 20-17. The play, which saw Franklin act as a decoy and secure the edge, ended in a 30-yard completion to tight end Mo Allie-Cox. The Colts would punch the ball into the endzone a few plays later and would beat the Bucs 27-20. 

During Wednesday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, Franklin spoke to John about his very first offensive snap, and if he was nervous at all. 

“Honestly, I was actually cool man. It was just like how we practiced. “ 

While the play in question was not designed to go to Franklin, he did talk about if he has any dreams of catching a pass or being more involved in an offensive play. 

“We’ve got a competition on turnovers in the linebacker room. 1 point for forced fumble, interception, fumble recovery, you know that type of thing. A touchdown is considered 2 points. So I told those guys, I was like, if I score an offensive touchdown, that’s got to be like 10 points. That’s got to be like a landslide lead in the linebacker competition. So hopefully I get to take off on those boys soon.” 

According to Franklin, his offensive debut came about because of a joke between him and the offense as they were exiting a meeting. When head coach Shane Steichen later told Franklin that he was up on offense, Franklin didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until tight ends coach Tom Manning pulled him aside and showed him the play that it actually sunk in. 

“After we had meetings, defensive meetings, [tight ends coach] Coach Manning actually pulled me out of meetings and showed me the play, and I’m like ‘Yo, y’all were serious!’” 

Franklin also spoke to JMV about where he thinks the Colts defense is right now. 

“I feel like we’re a defense on the rise. I feel like we, you know, we faced some adversity in the middle of the season, as most teams do, and I just love how our unit respond[s], I love how the young guys on our unit respond. I feel like our d-line is just humming right now man. You know, when you’ve got those boys up front hunting like that, obviously Samson with the game-ender, but obviously you know Buck is the one leading the charge, making play after play on every down. When you’ve got those boys humming like that, with Grove coming back soon next week, man it’s special. It makes everybody’s job easier on the field.” 

Listen to JMV’s full conversation with Zaire Franklin of the Colts down below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.15/107.5 The Fan! 

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