Calvin Johnson has not played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, or for any team in the league, since he announced his surprise retirement back in 2015, ending his NFL career after just nine seasons. Yet, because he was such an incredible player, many people believe he could come back at any moment.
Whether there has been a shortage of wide receiver depth on a team, his name always crops up as a possible person to fill the void, but every single time, the reports fail to come true. It was only back in October that there were rumors about Johnson returning to the game at the trade deadline.
Today though in The Player's Tribute, the Lions icon himself has spoken about his future in the NFL and has addressed the rumors of a possible comeback, confirming that he will be staying retired.
In what is a fantastic read, Johnson reiterated on his decision from 2015, stating that he is enjoying retirement as it has allowed him to try new experiences and travel to new places around the world, while also spending more time with his family.
Megatron said as well that he initially contemplated his decision to retire for over a year, and that the pain from playing football was just too much for him to continue after nine seasons in the NFL.
He said: "I love football. But it became difficult to love the game as much when I was in some sort of pain every day. I never talked about it while I was playing because … what good would that do? It wouldn’t make me hurt any less. It would just sound like an excuse. And I hate making excuses. So I continued to play as best I could for as long as I could, which turned out to be nine years.
"And don’t let anyone try to tell you that nine years is a “short” football career. With the beating you take on the field, nine years literally feels like forever. They should have a system to measure a football player’s age — like dog years or something — because nine years in the league doesn’t equal nine years in real time. It takes a lot more years out of you.
"So I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide, You know what? I’m going to retire today. I contemplated it for over a year.
"There were days when I was elated because I was breaking records and making my family, friends and fans proud. But the more I played … even that pride couldn’t outweigh the pain I felt while shuffling my feet across the floor because I couldn’t bend my ankles. I didn’t want to worry about potentially being in too much pain to play with my son, you know?
"And that’s not all. My fingers are all kinds of jacked up. My job was to play receiver. I got paid to catch the ball. But there was a point when every time the ball hit my fingers, they ached. There were other aches and pains and things I don’t need to go into, but eventually, my body said to me, “I’m done.’ And I listened."
Johnson expressed that during his retirement that he has helped out other wide receivers improve their game at all different levels, saying he's become a private wide-receiver consultant. So far, he's worked with high school kids trying to earn college scholarships, college guys preparing for the draft, and even some of his former colleagues with NFL teams.
Before signing off though, the Lions icon reemphasized what he previously said to make sure everyone knew that he wouldn't be coming back to the NFL.
"I guess what I’m saying is … if you see me in an airport somewhere near you, let me save you some trouble. No, I’m not coming back. I appreciate all the love. I really do. But football was my passion. It is not my purpose."