The Colts on Wednesday signed linebacker Zaire Franklin to a contract extension.
Franklin, a 2018 seventh-round pick (No. 235 overall), hasn't missed a game since debuting for the Colts in Week 1 of his rookie season. He started 11 games in 2021 and recorded his first career interception in Week 11 against the Buffalo Bills; a week before, his blocked punt led to an E.J. Speed touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Franklin's 83.7 PFF special teams grade ranked 10th among core special teamers in the NFL in 2021.
Over his four-year career, Franklin has 94 tackles – 20 of which have come on special teams, per Pro Football Focus. Franklin was named a team captain in 2020 and 2021 and has played over 345 special teams snaps in each of the last three seasons.
"What a strong, powerful leader he is and he's strong in his convictions and he is – if you unzip his chest man, his heart is all about team," former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said last season. "That's what Zaire brings to the table and man, he shows it on the practice field. You can tell he loves football and he loves this football team. The way he interacts with his fellow teammates, you can tell he loves them too. That's an important part of being a leader and you can just feel that when he walks into the room and his actions day-to-day say that. He's a fine young man."
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