The speculation surrounding Calvin Johnson’s pending retirement is coming into better focus, thanks to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Johnson, just 30, reportedly told his close friends, family and Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell one day after the season ended that the 2015 season would be his last and he would retire.
The report mentions Caldwell asked Johnson to take some time to think his decision over, and that he agreed to, but had not wavered from his initial resolution.
The Lions star WR is only nine years into a Hall-of-Fame caliber career, and still putting up impressive numbers. Despite battling through an ankle injury over the last half of the season, Johnson still reeled in 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. He might not be the record-setting receiver he was in 2012, but the former best receiver on the planet is far from the twilight of his career.
For Lions fans this another punch in the gut, eerily reminiscent of the last transcendent talent to play for Detroit.
Barry Sanders: Lions leading rusher, last season age 30.
Calvin Johnson: Lions leading receiver, last season age 30. pic.twitter.com/B3yX0PqAgz
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 31, 2016
However, it appears the injuries have taken their toll on Johnson. Dubbed, “Megatron” for his otherworldly athleticism and durability early in his career, Johnson has dealt with a myriad of injuries in the last three seasons. He missed two games in 2013 due to knee and finger injuries that required offseason surgery, and missed three games thanks to a high ankle sprain last season.
Johnson still has four years left on his current, seven-year $113 million deal, but as our own Ian Casselberry wrote earlier this month, this decision is about a lot more than the money.
If Johnson’s decision is indeed final, he finishes as the Lions franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. His 11,619 career receiving yards is also good for 27th in NFL history and provided fans with some of the best catches we have seen in the NFL. If it has to end now, it has been an incredibly memorable career for Calvin Johnson.