Orlando Franklin (74) during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando Franklin Discusses Off Season and Houseguest Louis Vasquez

Who would have thought that Denver Broncos right tackle Orlando Franklin would be making headlines in early May? He was the prime target for Peyton Manning’s latest prank on Tuesday night when he took a pie to the face at the Rockies game.

Pies aside, Franklin along with the rest of the offensive line has been using the off season to rest and rehab surgically repaired shoulders, toes, and ankles.

“My toe is great,” Franklin said Wednesday. “It’s 100 percent. My shoulder feels about 85 percent. My shoulder was a little bit worse than my toe. My toe wasn’t really a big deal. So I’m looking forward to getting after it. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to go full-go here in about two weeks when we start up.”

Franklin has also used the off season to drop some pounds so that the Broncos can play much faster on offense, which is Adam Gase and Manning’s idea.

“I know I for one want to play a little bit lighter this year than I’ve played in the past,” Franklin said. “I want to actually go down to about 315 [pounds]. I haven’t played in the NFL lighter than 320 in the past two years…I know a lot of guys want to be in better shape because last year definitely was an eye-opener with Peyton. You definitely got a little bit tired at times in the game. You don’t want that to happen again this year.”

Franklin said that he hired a nutritionist, and he’s feeling much better about himself. Those bags of potato chips at midnight or 6:00 a.m. are long gone, but entering Franklin’s house was something entirely new.

New guard Louis Vasquez lived with Franklin for over two weeks when he first arrived in Denver. That’s because the 6-5, 335-pound four-year veteran wasn’t closing on his house until the 19th.

“He just reached out to me and I said, ‘Yes, of course.’ Especially if this is a guy that I’m getting ready to play beside, potentially. Need to have some kind of chemistry there,” Franklin said.

The only downside to having Vasquez in his house goes back to food.

“He came in one night, the first night he got there, he ate my meals,” Vasquez said of the meals that the nutritionist recommended for him. “He woke up, ate my meals. I had to talk to him about that. Just a bad houseguest, I think. No, I’m playing. He was actually a good roommate. But he did eat my meals, and I wasn’t happy about that.”

It’s great to see Broncos players hanging out with each other off the field. Building chemistry and cultivating trust now will go a long ways, perhaps even all the way to February.

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