In announcing a new contract extension that will keep him in Detroit through the 2019 season, Calvin Johnson said today that he views playing for the Lions as an opportunity to spend a great career with a great franchise.
“What a tremendous blessing this is for me, my family, my teammates and future teammates to come,” Johnson said.
Although not many people would call the Lions a great franchise for most of the last half century, Johnson especially mentioned his relationship with quarterback Matthew Stafford and said he expects the Lions to be contenders for years to come.
“Everybody’s looking for us to be there this year and we definitely expect that of ourselves,” he said.
Johnson said negotiations were easy because he wanted to stay in Detroit and the Lions made him a great offer.
“The Lions came and got it done,” Johnson said.
Lions President Tom Lewand said the Lions are thrilled and hope Johnson is a Lion for life.
“It’s very exciting to be able to say that we have secured the services of a truly special player for what may be the rest of his career,” Lewand said. “There are not many guys when you do a contract of this makeup — we did one years ago with Barry Sanders, and he was one of those kinds of guys — who are so special on the field, truly deserving of a contract of this size and a guy who you have no doubt will handle all that comes with it with a great deal of skill on and off the field. It’s a great day for us.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz got a laugh at the press conference by first double-checking to make sure the contract had been signed and then turning to Johnson and saying, “I’d have held out for more money, Calvin.”
It’s not often that a team thinks it can get a bargain by paying a player $130 million, but in the case of the Lions and Calvin Johnson, they think they got a steal.