It was a stunning decision that rocked the NFL world at the time.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported Jan. 6 , 2016 regarding Johnson’s outlook for the future. He had been dealing with a nagging ankle injury that had caused him to miss a lot of practice over the past two seasons, and per Birkett, he had mentioned retirement to at least one former teammate.
The six-time Pro Bowler confirmed at the time he was having doubts about his future on the gridiron in a joint statement released with the Lions, per Tori Petry of the team’s official website.
Calvin Johnson was one of the most durable wide receivers in NFL history but he had to sit back and watch the magical run of the Detroit Lions in 2023.
The Lions went to the postseason only twice in Johnson’s entire time with the franchise, which began when Detroit chose him second overall in the 2007 NFL draft. Given his consistent greatness and professionalism over the years, he probably deserved better.
With four years still remaining on a massive contract, not only will Detroit was not only sad to lose Johnson, but he’ll also be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table.
Johnson’s retirement also served as the catalyst that would lead to the eventual trade that sent Matthew Stafford to LA and brought Jared Goff to Detroit.
Goff was viewed up as a washed-up first-round overall pick, but after working with Ben Johnson and a roster loaded with offensive talent, the quarterback has resurged his career and the Lions should be contenders again in 2024.
Former Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson Admitted He Smoked Weed Before NFL Games
However banged up Megatron may have been, he hadn’t ceased producing at an elite level and missed only nine games in his career. The 30-year-old had 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns as one of the best receivers of his generation.
All of those bumps and bruises led to significant pain for Jonson.
Johnson’s career was relatively short by Hall of Fame standards. He was inducted despite having played just 135 games over nine seasons and retiring at age 30 after the 2015 season.
Calvin Johnson alluded to the physical toll football had taken on him when discussing his retirement in November 2020.
“They’re blowing up the team. My body is aching. I don’t have my range of motion like I use to. I can’t get out, I can’t dig like I used to. I just don’t feel it,” Johnson said of his reasoning at that time.
On Thursday’s episode of the RG3 and The Ones, former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III’s podcast, Johnson went even further—revealing he had been in such pain late in his career that he’d taken to using cannabis before games.
“There were some games in my career, man, where I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna make it today,’” Johnson said, chuckling along with Griffin.