Very seldom do breakups go seamlessly, but Lions coach Jim Caldwell was surprised when Calvin Johnson’s split with the team turned ugly with recent comments.
But as a guy who tries to keep things as steady as possible, Caldwell hopes the rift can eventually be healed.
“Playing in the National Football League for a team, it’s like a family. Families sometimes have disagreements,” Caldwell said, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. “They look at things a little differently. I have grown children. Sometimes we look at things a little differently. We hash them out, talk them out. There’s dialogue, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love them. But we get the differences worked out.
“I think the same thing will happen in this situation. Maybe there’s a disagreement, a little different viewpoint, but the most important thing, I think, is perhaps this whole thing will bring about a little bit more dialogue.”
Johnson didn’t get into specifics, but the team’s decision to pursue $320,000 in prorated signing bonus from him upon retirement (which he could have easily avoided) seems to have been the most likely point of contention.
And while Caldwell said he hasn’t talked to Johnson, he said he texts with him regularly and hopes to get the franchise’s all-time leading receiver back in the fold someday.
“One of the things that I think you’ve noticed since I’ve been here, our practices are open to all our alumni,” Caldwell said. “They can come any time, any day. There’s no restrictions against them in terms of watching our practices and being involved.”
Of course, at the moment Johnson has been hanging out at Raiders practices, the kind of distance that’s both physical and metaphorical between the team and the latest star to have hurt feelings on the way out the door.