Since January 31, Calvin Johnson was going to retire. While the news broke and the media said it was official, reports circulating of him telling Caldwell that 2015 would be his last season, Calvin never came out and confirmed this to be true. Many speculated that he would return after having over a month to decide, others already written him gone. Today though, on March 8, Calvin Johnson officially retired.
Some say he is like Barry Sanders, retiring early while still having the talent and skill to compete in the NFL. Barry retired after 10 years in the NFL, while Calvin walks away with nine seasons under his belt and at 30 years old.
This man had a fantastic career at wide receiver, breaking the single-season NFL receiving yards record held by Jerry Rice in 2012. Calvin ends his career with 135 games played, 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. His accolades include: Six time Pro-Bowler, three times a first-team All-Pro, a second-team All-Pro, two time NFL receiving yards leader, three time NFC receiving yards leader, two time NFC receiving touchdowns leader, member of the 10,000 receiving yards club, second most all-time receiving yards in a game, one of only two players in NFL history with 5,000 yards in three seasons, the fastest receiver ever to reach 10,000 yards and he is the Detroit Lions’ all-time career leader in yards and touchdowns.
Here is his official statement from the Lions website:
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement.
After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football.
Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.
I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game.”
Many people question why he is choosing to retire at 30 years old? When he can still have four to five more good years in him? Many believe it is because of injuries. A former teammate told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press “I think the guy’s beat up. I think he’s been through enough. And I think it’s just his time. He’s made the money, got the records, but whatever. I don’t know for sure if he’s going to do it. I don’t know if he’s going to get that itch to keep going. I really don’t know.”
Calvin Johnson did everything you could ever ask for in a player and he did so much for his team. When the times were tough in Detroit, he didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay and help make this team great, make this team a contender, something we have never been before. The sad part about all of this though, is that this great receiver never once was able to win a playoff game or get the Superbowl ring he desperately deserves.
Overall, this man is a legend for sure in the NFL and the Detroit Lions organization. While he never was able to play for a full ride, he gave us some great memories, some eye popping moments and many times left opponents wondering, “how many guys do we need on him?”