Zaire Franklin Calls Out QB C.J. Stroud, Spicing Up Colts-Texans Rivalry

Dec 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) pumps up the crowd.
Dec 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) pumps up the crowd. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

There's one team in the AFC South, specifically one quarterback, that Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin can't wait to face in the 2024 NFL season—Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Franklin hinted at ramping up the Colts–Texans rivalry when speaking on a recent episode of the Green Light with Chris Long podcast.

"It really be Houston," Franklin said when asked about the Colts' rivals. "I'm not going to lie to you, I like C.J., man, I support all our young brothers at quarterback, but C.J., he done said a lot of wild stuff to me in our run-ins. … He is feeling himself. … I need to see that boy again."

The Colts and Texans split their two matchups last season, with the Colts and quarterback Anthony Richardson winning the first game, and the Texans and Stroud winning the second contest. Franklin spoke to Stroud at Radio Row at Super Bowl LVIII about those two games.

"Well, we were talking, and you know how the Super Bowl is at Radio Row, he had the XM Radio right before me and he was on there talking about how he cooked the Colts in both games," Franklin added. "I saw him and I pulled him aside and was like you know when you played Anthony it was like 28-7 in the second quarter, we were kind of blowing you out. … Yeah you threw for 300 yards but … I was like if that's what you consider a cooking with the loss, I mean congratulations. Then I have to remind him as well that he's never beaten Anthony."

All eyes will be on Franklin and Stroud when the teams play each other in 2024.

Madison Williams


Madison Williams is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where she has covered the entire sports landscape since 2022. She specializes in tennis, but covers a wide range of sports from a national perspective. Before joining Sports Illustrated, Madison worked with The Sporting News. She hails from Augustana College and completed a Master’s in Sports Media at Northwestern University. Madison is a dog mom and an avid reader.