It’s been a few years since superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson left the NFL, and, man, it sucks he is no longer playing. Megatron was incredible and somehow made the Detroit Lions watchable. The only thing worse than his early retirement is the relationship he has with the franchise he helped carry for the better part of a decade.
When Johnson decided to hang up the cleats for good back in 2015, the Lions, a franchise that makes millions in the blink of an eye, forced him to repay “a seven-figure portion” of a $16 million signing bonus he had received in his contract four years earlier, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Now, the team, particularly Lions president Rod Wood, wants Johnson back around the organization, that it’s a high priority, but there is a catch.
Calvin Johnson wants his money back.
This isn’t the first time the Detroit Lions have pulled this kind of stunt, either. Remember when Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders unexpectedly retired before the 1999 season? Well, the Lions made the greatest player in franchise history pay the same seven-figure sum.
The two sides eventually made up enough that Sanders now gets paid to be a team ambassador.
So the solution is simple: If the Lions want Calvin Johnson back in the family before he gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, they need to reach into their pockets.
“They already know what they got to do. The only way they’re going to get me back is they put that money back in my pocket. Nah, you don’t do that. I don’t care what they say. They can put it back, then they can have me back. That’s the bottom line.”
— Former Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson, via the Free Press
Johnson is still around the area. He just got done running a camp for local high school students in the Detroit, Michigan area. The door is open, but it’s up to the Lions to make it right.
And really, it’s kind of foolish it hasn’t happened already. An NFL team paying a legend $1 million is like us buying a pack of gum for a friend. There’s no reason they shouldn’t do it and hopefully move on.
Calvin Johnson is well worth the money, too. After being taken No. 2 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft out of Georgia Tech, he produced at an extremely high level. Megatron made six Pro Bowls and earned three First-Team All-Pro selections after hauling in 731 receptions for 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns. He had a great connection with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Sure, he doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring, but the former Lions star has the single-season record for receiving yards and is easily one of the best NFL players of this generation and perhaps ever.
From a College Football Hall of Fame career to a first round pick to making NFL history, Calvin Johnson has earned every single bit of praise. And now he deserves his money back so he can be with the team he was a major part of for years.