Sports.Yahoo Everyone assumed Calvin Johnson’s reasons for retiring included the constant losing with the Detroit Lions.He avoided answering that directly for a long time, instead sticking to his answer that the physical toll on his body was too much and that’s why he stepped away. But now, about a year-and-a-half into retirement, he confirmed that the constant losing was a factor.Johnson stomped on the Lions during a news conference in Italy, where he was presenting the game ball for the American football championship game in the country, Italian Bowl XXXVII.“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,” Johnson said, via ESPN. “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.”The most interesting part of that quote is that Johnson apparently went to the team and asked to be let out of his contract. What if the Lions had done so? That might have changed some NFL history.Instead, Johnson walked away. That means the Lions had one of the greatest running backs ever, Barry Sanders, and one of the greatest receivers ever retire at least in part because of the franchise’s ongoing futility. Johnson won zero playoff games in his career and Sanders won one. That win Sanders was part of, at the end of the 1991 season, is Detroit’s only playoff win since 1957. In the 51-year Super Bowl era the Lions have won three division titles, and none since 1993.The Lions already know their sad history. They probably don’t need a future Hall of Famer telling everyone he retired at 30 years old, after nine seasons and still among the best players in football, because the chances of the Lions winning it all was hopeless. Things aren’t going smoothly in the relationship between Johnson and his former team, considering this story and the one earlier this offseason in which Johnson complained about the Lions asking him to pay part of his signing bonus back. Any ceremonies the Lions have for Johnson in the future might be a bit awkward.The Lions moved on and actually made the playoffs without Johnson last season (take that, Megatron!). But there are always reminders of Detroit’s sad history, even from one of their greatest players in retirement.
On one hand, I say thank you Calvin Johnson for giving me and others something football related that’s interesting instead of all the coach and player speak about being reported by the minute about how they expect big things this upcoming year and that they’re looking to start out hot as opposed to all the players and coaches who are looking to win about 6 games and not really turn it on until about week 9.
But on the other hand, man, did you just do your former team dirty. I’m fine with is it because it’s not like you’re telling me that the reason you left me is because I wasn’t good enough for you. That be impossible. But I can understand how your former flame, the Lions, might not take this well.
“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,” Johnson said, via ESPN. “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.”
And Megatron went right to the body and made sure the Lions can’t breath. Just straight up destroyed them. You could of simply just went about your days, doing whatever it is you’re doing, which is probably living like a God doing everything and anything you want and not ever mention this. But that’s not what you did. What you did was pull a classic breakup move where you leave on good terms but then when you get back with your boys or girls, you just start going in on how the person you left is the biggest idiot/scummer/weird-o going. And all this tells me that you want back in. Not with the Lions, but you definitely want back in the league. Maybe you think that if you start a minor PR war with Detroit they’ll release you and then you could sign with another team. No universe exists where that will happen. I suppose they could trade you. But stuff like that doesn’t happen that often even though the same thing just kind of happened with Seattle and Marshawn Lynch.
I wonder what Matt Stafford thinks about all this. Can’t feel great that the guy you helped become a star says the team you lead can’t win a superbowl. But that’s the role of the QB. Sometimes everything is going great and nothing stop you and your receiver and sometimes you get your heart broken. That’s why you make the big bucks.