Calvin Johnson finally came clean.
Johnson was in Italy last week to deliver the game ball for the Italian Bowl XXXVII when he was asked by reporters more about his playing days in Detroit. His responses shouldn’t really surprise you. But for Lions fans, they may sting a little.
I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall … and not going anywhere.
That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl.
This isn’t Johnson’s first rodeo with reporters post retirement. Last May, Johnson voiced his displeasure with the way he was treated by the Lions on his way out. Many speculated part of the reason was due to the Lions asking him to repay some of his signing bonus upon retirement.
As a Lions fan, I can definitely understand and respect Johnson’s comments and decision to retire. The guy battled injuries throughout his career and he made the choice to protect his body long-term and call it a career early.
Not mad at Calvin Johnson one bit. Everything he said was truth.
— Detroit Lions Fans (@DetLionBlood) July 11, 2017
What makes this hard to stomach? The Lions have the best roster entering ’17 that they have had in years. They upgraded their offensive line, expect big things from Abdullah and the run game (for once), look good defensively and finally found a solid GM in Bob Quinn.
In an article I wrote about Calvin Johnson’s comments back in May, I ended the piece with the question, “If the Lions were better, would Johnson still be playing?” Today, we finally got our answer. It’s what all of us Lions fans were thinking, but Johnson gave us clarity.
For the Lions and QB Matthew Stafford, they have to be pleased with how the team responded to Johnson’s departure. Instead of heaving the ball down the field to watch Johnson miraculously haul in highlight reel after highlight reel, Stafford has had to spread the ball around and it’s paying off.
It’s been easier to forget about Johnson’s departure when you get to witness Stafford lead his team to eight comeback wins in ’16.
I will always love Calvin Johnson and true Lions fans should love him too. But now that the official word is out, I think it’s time for Johnson to stop talking about what could have been and enjoy his retirement.
No one likes opening up old wounds. The city of Detroit doesn’t deserve it. It’s time to move on.