Don't Call Him Daniel


Bubba Franks

Go ahead and walk up to an NFL player -- any NFL player -- and try calling him "Bubba." Chances are you'll get a funny look in return. That is, unless you're talking to Daniel Franks.

The Packers drafted Daniel "Bubba" Franks with their first-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. The University of Miami product was a highly touted tight end with big, soft hands and impressive blocking skills.

Bubba -- which he prefers to be called -- immediately became a fan favorite in Green Bay. Toward the end of last season, he was a solid contributor to an offensive machine led by quarterback Brett Favre. Your given name is Daniel Franks. Where did "Bubba" come from?

BF: My Mom gave me that name when I was a baby. She used to call me Daniel, but I would never come when she called. I used to call my bottle "bubba," so whenever she said "bubba," I guess I thought she had my bottle so I would come to her and the name stuck. Have you always played tight end?

BF: Back in high school, I (played) everything. Since college, I was a tight end. Who did you look up to when you were in school?

BF: I think I was a Deion Sanders fan because he was flashy, but I was mainly a basketball fan. I just played football to take up the time during basketball season. Did you grow up wanting to be a basketball player?

BF: Basketball was my first love, but I knew I had a better opportunity playing football, so I had to choose football over basketball. What's the game plan at tight end this year for the Pack? Will you be splitting time with David Martin? Or is the tight end position yours?

BF: It's mine. David Martin may come in for a couple of snaps to relieve me, but I don't see it as a splitting role. Some critics claim you have a hard time catching the ball. Looking back on your first season, what changes have you made in preparing for this season?

BF: I got a little bit stronger. Being more comfortable with this offense helps out. Last year, I think I tried to do too much. I'd try to catch the ball and run with it at the same time -- but I'd turn around, and the ball would be on the ground, and I'm running for no reason. I'm focused on catching the ball first, and whatever happens after that happens. Opponents are waiting for Brett Favre to slow down. You've been working with him for more than a year. Is Favre showing his age yet, or can we expect the same ol' Brett this season?

BF: Pretty much the same ol' Brett. I don't see him slowing down for a while. He still has that fire going in him and that excitement to him. He always has jokes for everybody around him. This week, you're scheduled to host the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football, one of two games the Packers have on Monday night this season. Are these Monday night games circled on your calendar?

BF: Not really. Monday nights are later games, so you have to wait around all day. But it's no different than Sunday morning, otherwise. What are your thoughts on your college coach, Butch Davis, who's coaching the Browns? You play Cleveland this year, don't you?

BF: Yeah, we do. This is a business. I wasn't mad at him for leaving (Miami). He's doing what (he needs to do), and look out for his family. Once you leave high school, it's no longer just for fun. Going into college, you realize that, being at the University of Miami, (I realized) it is a business. You can have fun as much you want, but you still have to look at the aspect of it as a business.

(If I were still at U.M.), I might have been upset (about Davis' leaving.) I wouldn't be able to understand what I've learned now. It's pretty much the same coaching staff there, so it wouldn't have made too much of a difference.

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