Calvin Johnson Cites Losing Lions as Reason for Retirement

Filed under: On the Job |

Calvin_johnson_2014Marquette, MIJuly 12, 2017 – Calvin Johnson, arguably the 2nd greatest player in Detroit Lions history (behind Barry Sanders) retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season.  While at the time Johnson cited injuries as his cause for retirement, many thought something else played a key role.

Those people were correct.

According to a report from ESPN, Johnson was in Italy last week and was asked if he ever thought about switching teams. Johnson said that he did, but that it’s not like basketball. He claimed he didn’t have the freedom. He then went on to say:

“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. It’s the definition of insanity.”

Ahh the incompetence of the Detroit Lions strikes once again. Like the aforementioned Barry Sanders, who retired in his prime because the Lions were not willing to let him go, Johnson decided playing for the Lions just wasn’t worth it anymore.  Johnson went so far as to call playing for the Lions “the definition of insanity.” And he would not be wrong.

The Detroit Lions have one playoff win in the last 50 years.  Their last division championship came in 1993, back when it was the NFC Central Division. They have not fielded a team that had a remote chance to win a Super Bowl in at least the last 20 years. And since the Lions would not release him, Calvin Johnson decided it was just no longer worth playing the game he loved, because of who he played for.

Since Barry Sanders retired, the Lions have a new logo, new uniforms, new ownership (same family), and a new stadium.

But as they say, “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”