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What did James Franklin say in Saquon Barkley tampering probe? NFL won’t say

Penn State coach James Franklin sparked the NFL’s investigation as to whether the Eagles tampered with former Giants running back Saquon Barkley by blurting out that G.M. Howie Roseman’s pitch to Saquon Barkley included pointing out the number of Penn State fans who are Eagles fans.

It was enough to get Franklin interviewed by the league. So we asked the league the simple question of whether Franklin recanted or revised his remarks.

“Not going to comment on Coach Franklin,” the league said.

Here’s what Franklin previously said, regarding his conversation with Barkley: “He said that was one of the first things that Howie said to him on the phone as part of his sales pitch. Not only the Philadelphia Eagles and that that but also the connection with Penn State and the fan base as well. So just a really cool opportunity.”

Franklin said what he said on Tuesday, March 12 — smack dab in the middle of the 52-hour negotiation window during which there can be no contact between team and player.

The fact that the Eagles weren’t punished for tampering necessarily means that Franklin successfully put the toothpaste back in the tube. And, as explained on Friday’s PFT Live, the NFL’s potential desire to slap the Falcons on the wrist for tampering with three different players might have made the NFL more inclined to accept the predictable “nothing to see here” official versions from Franklin and the others who were interviewed.