It looks like Calvin Johnson may be giving us his best Barry Sanders impersonation.
After nine seasons with the Detroit Lions, Megatron has reportedly informed his teammates and coaches that he will be retiring this offseason. Johnson, 30, holds Lions franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, and he is second in franchise history in yards, yards per game, and overall touchdowns behind the great Barry Sanders.
The seemingly early retirement for Johnson only furthers the comparison between the two best players in Lions history. Sanders had 10 remarkable seasons in Detroit before walking away from the game after his 31st birthday in the midst of his prime.
Johnson finished 2015 with 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. The numbers fail in comparison to his NFL-record 1,964 receiving yards from 2012 or his 16 touchdowns in 2011, but the 2007 second-overall pick proved that he is still one of the most dominant receivers in the league today.
Johnson’s retirement is even more surprising when you look at the amount of money the receiver is leaving on the table. Megatron was set to make nearly $16 million in 2016 as part of the eight-year, $150.5 million contract extension Johnson signed back in 2012. Johnson is the highest-paid wide receiver in the league but was also tied down in Detroit for his career.
Johnson’s retirement is just the latest in a long line of things that haven’t gone well for the Lions. In fact, his retirement may be a direct result of all the negatives associated with the Lions organization. Johnson is, statistically, the best wide receiver in NFL history to never win a playoff game.
There have been rumors swirling about a possible departure from the organization, but it seems that those have all fallen through. Even amidst retirement rumors, fans are still chirping for Johnson to simply switch teams. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and today’s Super Bowl contenders really can’t afford to pick up a contract of that size for an aging superstar.
Regardless, Calvin Johnson had a fantastic run. Next stop, Canton, Ohio.