American Football Database
Bobby Franklin
Date of birth: (1936-10-05) October 5, 1936 (age 85)
Place of birth: Clarksdale, Mississippi
Career information
Position(s): Quarterback, Safety
College: Mississippi
High school: Clarksdale
(Clarksdale, Mississippi)
AFL Draft: 1960 / Round: 2 / Pick: First Selections
Drafted by: Los Angeles Chargers
NFL Draft: 1960 / Round: 11 / Pick: 127
Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
Career stats
Interceptions     13
Touchdowns     3

Bobby Ray Franklin (born October 5, 1936) is a former football safety for the Cleveland Browns. He played as a quarterback for Ole Miss in college, and was the head football coach at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He has been named to seven Halls of Fame for his athletic and coaching accomplishments.

After retiring as a player, he coached at Georgia Tech and then became the defensive backs and special teams for the Dallas Cowboys from 1968 to 1972.[1] He later coached for the Baltimore Colts and scouted for the Seattle Seahawks. He served as a college coach for Northwest Mississippi Community College for 26 years, 24 of those as the team's head coach.

Early years

Franklin was a four-sport letterman at Clarksdale High School in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was also named All-State, All-Southern Team and All America.[2]

Franklin was recruited by both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He chose Ole Miss and was provided a full scholarship, attending the school from 1956 through 1960. He starred at quarterback for the Rebels, and led the team to three consecutive bowl game appearances. He was chosen MVP in the 1958 Gator Bowl in which his team defeated the Florida Gators 7-3. He was also named the MVP in the 1960 Sugar Bowl,[3] throwing two touchdown passes in a 21-0 victory as the second-ranked Rebels defeated defending national champion and third-ranked LSU. Franklin had been injured earlier in the season and had been replaced in the lineup by Jake Gibbs. LSU had defeated the Rebels in an October 31 regular season game 7-3 with the only touchdown scored on Billy Cannon's famous "Halloween Run" punt return.

While Gibbs passed for one touchdown in the Sugar Bowl game, Franklin led the attack, completing 10 of 15 passes for 146 yards. The team was named NCAA national champions by various selection committees.[4]

Professional career

Cleveland Browns

Franklin was an 11th round selection by the Cleveland Browns in the 1960 NFL Draft, and was also selected by the Los Angeles Chargers of the newly-formed American Football League. The Browns also selected Ole Miss teammates Johnny Brewer in the fourth round and offensive lineman/placekicker Robert Khayat in the sixth round.[5] Brewer played for the Browns until 1967 as a tight end and linebacker. Khayat never played for the Browns as he was packaged with offensive tackle Fran O'Brien in an April 1960 trade with the Washington Redskins for running back/placekicker Sam Baker.[6] Khayat played for Washington through 1963, primarily as a placekicker. He achieved greater fame by returning to the University of Mississippi in 1995 as its 15th Chancellor.

In joining the Browns, Franklin was reunited with former Ole Miss teammate, guard Gene Hickerson, drafted by the Browns in 1957. The two became lifelong friends and Franklin delivered the presenting speech on behalf of Hickerson when the latter was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Hickerson, suffering from dementia, was unable to make his own acceptance speech.[7]

The Browns utilized Franklin in the defensive backfield, where he played right safety. Prior to joining the team as rookie, he played in the 1960 College All-Star Game.[8] Franklin led the Browns with eight interceptions in 1960, finishing fourth in the league. Three of those came in a single game, and two were returned for touchdowns of 31 and 37 yards in a 42-0 victory over the Chicago Bears on December 11, a day in which the Browns intercepted seven passes in handing the Bears their worst defeat ever.[9] The two touchdown returns stood as a single game team record until David Bowens repeated the feat in 2010.[10]

Franklin, who also served as the holder for field goals and extra points at Ole Miss, performed the same duties throughout his years with Cleveland, teaming with kickers Baker (1960) and Hall of Famer Lou Groza (1961-1966). In his rookie season, he scored the game's first touchdown with a 19-yard run on a fake field goal in the Browns' final exhibition game, a 14-10 home victory over the Detroit Lions.[11] He repeated the feat in a 1961 league game against the St. Louis Cardinals, going 12 yards to score in a 21-0 victory.[12]

He was a member of the 1964 world's championship Browns team that defeated the Baltimore Colts, 27-0 and paired with Groza for three extra points and two field goals in the game. Franklin, who served as Cleveland's backup punter throughout his career with the team, punted four times for the Browns in 1965 and appeared in that season's championship game against the Green Bay Packers, which the Browns lost, 23-12.

Exposed by the Browns in the 1966 NFL Expansion Draft to stock the new Atlanta Falcons franchise, Franklin was selected along with teammates Larry Benz and Dale Memmelaar. Released by Atlanta prior to the start of the regular season, Franklin joined Georgia Tech as a freshman coach.[13] He rejoined the Browns in late September.[14] He remained with the team through the rest of the season after which he announced his retirement to rejoin the coaching staff at Georgia Tech.[15]

Dallas Cowboys, Other NFL Affiliations

In 1968, Franklin joined the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff under Tom Landry, serving as defensive backfield coach for four seasons (1968-1971) and as special teams coach in 1972. He coached in Super Bowl V and Super Bowl VI, earning his second NFL Championship ring in the second game.[16]

He served as the defensive backfield coach of the Baltimore Colts for the 1973 season and scouted for the Seattle Seahawks from 1980-1985.[2]

Collegiate Coaching

Franklin joined the coaching staff of Northwest Mississippi Community College in 1979 where he served as offensive coordinator for two seasons under head coach Ray Poole. He was named head coach in 1981, a post he held for 24 years, leading the Rangers to eight bowl games, finishing with a record of 201-57-6 before retiring after the 2004 season. Under Franklin, the team won the National Junior College Athletic Association in 1982 and 1992 and was runner-up in 1991. As head coach, Franklin helped to develop 35 players who went on to have careers in the National Football League and/or Canadian Football League.[17] Franklin was named to the school's Hall of Fame in 2003.[18] The school named its football stadium Bobby Franklin Field in tribute to Franklin in 2005.

Hall of Fame Honors

Franklin has been named to seven Halls of Fame:

  • 1988: Ole Miss M Club HOF
  • 2003: Northwest Mississippi Community College HOF
  • 2005: Mississippi Sports HOF and Museum
  • 2005: National Junior College Athletic Association HOF
  • 2007: Mississippi Community College Sports HOF
  • 2010: Mississippi Association of Coaches HOF[19]
  • 2013: Clarksdale/Coahoma County Sports HOF[20]


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bobby Ray Franklin". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  3. "Ole Miss Bowl History". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  4. "Ole Miss Bowl History". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  5. "1960 NFL Draft". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  6. "Fran O'Brien Dies". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  7. "Hickerson Induction Draws Nearer". Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  8. ""Browns to welcome 28 newcomers"". Cleveland Plain Dealer. July 22, 1960.
  9. "This Day in Browns History: Cleveland defense sets club record with seven interceptions in 1960 win over the Chicago Bears". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  10. Charles Heaton. "Bowens Linked to Bobby Franklin". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  11. "Browns Win on Fake Field Goal, 14-10; Franklin Races 19 to Score". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  12. "Mitchell Races 56 As Browns Win". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  13. Charles Heaton (September 16, 1966). ""Extra Points"". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  14. Charles Heaton (September 28, 1966). ""Franklin Here as 'Protection'"". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  15. Charles Heaton (March 9, 1967). ""Franklin Retirement Leaves 6 Open Spots"". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  16. "Bobby Franklin Cumulative Stats". Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  17. "Former Rangers in Professional Football". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  18. "Bobby Ray Franklin to Head Senatobia Christmas Parade". Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  19. "HOF Second Class". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  20. "Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 15, 2018.

External links

Template:Ole Miss Rebels quarterback navbox Template:Browns1960DraftPicks