The Detroit Lions and Calvin Johnson: A broken relationship

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions’ legend Calvin Johnson has had some negative headlines since retiring

It is without a doubt that wide receiver Calvin Johnson is possibly the second greatest Detroit Lions player to ever put on the Honolulu blue, behind only Legend and Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Johnson was loved by all Lions fans for all of his incredible highlights and unbelievable catches.

Just a simple laid back Georgia kid that retired in 2016 still holding Detroit Lions franchise records with 731 receptions, 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. As well as still currently holding an NFL record for 1,964 receiving yards in a single season set back in 2012.

So, after all he’s accomplished and put out on the field, of course you’d think he would still want to be affiliated with the team in some sort of way right? Unfortunately No.

Why doesn’t Calvin Johnson want to be associated with the Detroit Lions?

To answer this question we have to look back at his playing days. Johnson did an interview with Sports Illustrated last year, and in that interview he stated back in 2012 in a game against the Minnesota Vikings he suffered a concussion. He proceeded to tell reporters about it after the game. The Detroit Lions then made him retract his statements.

"“I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story.”"

Johnson also discussed in that interview he’s had a total of 9 concussions in his career. Also a plethora of other injuries including foot, ankle, both knees and a finger injury that left it at a 90-degree angle. Which Detroit Lion coaches told him to get repaired after he retired. Although he was never diagnosed with a concussion in his 9 years with the Lions.

Former Detroit Lions center and teammate of Johnson’s, Travis Swanson had a similar story as he retweeted Johnson’s interview and claimed the Lions didn’t put him in front of a doctor for an entire week during the 2016 season following a head injury.

One of the biggest problems for Calvin Johnson with the Detroit Lions is the fact that they asked him to repay part of his signing bonus, which was around $1.5 million. Which is unusual for teams to do to one of their franchise leading receivers.

Especially after he’s recently seen the Indianapolis Colts let quarterback Andrew Luck keep his huge signing bonus after retiring.

Will the Detroit Lions and Calvin Johnson ever rekindle the relationship?

When asked if he still roots for the Detroit Lions, Calvin Johnson only responded:

"“I wouldn’t necessarily say I cheer for the Lions, I cheer for the players.”"

We’ve seen this before with aforementioned Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders, who had a strained relationship with the team following retirement. But has slowly returned and is now a team ambassador for the Lions.

The one and only consistent factor that has remained since Calvin Johnson’s time with the Detroit Lions is the owners, the Ford family. Every single other coaching staff member, facility worker and trainers are all completely different. The organization seems to be in a much better place now than when he played for the Lions.

Johnson has stated that he still keeps in contact with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and has told Lions head coach Matt Patricia that he’s willing to work out with the teams wide receivers, so long as its not at any Lions facility.

Next. Detroit Lions - 5 best individual offensive seasons since 2010. dark

The only hope now is that somehow the Detroit Lions can either re-pay Calvin Johnson the money that was initially given to him in his signing bonus to make amends, or somehow find another way to please the former face of your franchise.