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Calvin Johnson broke receiving record playing through broken fingers

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Lions receiver Calvin Johnson broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a season in 2012. And that was even harder than previously known.

Johnson played with at least two broken fingers most of the season and is still being seen around Detroit with his hand wrapped, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports.

Although Johnson was banged up a lot last season, the fingers weren’t among the injuries the Lions listed on their official injury report. Johnson frequently missed practice with knee and ankle injuries and also said at one point during the season that he had suffered a concussion and nerve damage, although he later backtracked on that claim, after questions began to be raised about why the Lions’ medical staff cleared Johnson to return to the game in which he allegedly suffered that concussion.

Asked about it today at the NFL Scouting Combine, Lions coach Jim Schwartz would not confirm that Johnson had broken fingers, but he hinted that the report was true.

“I am not going to comment on any of our players’ health,” he said. “But that’s not uncommon for a wide receiver. . . . We don’t have any injury reports this time of year. And you know how I am about injuries.”

And we know how Johnson is about injuries: He plays through them. And plays like the best receiver in the NFL.

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65 Responses to “Calvin Johnson broke receiving record playing through broken fingers”
  1. Burritto says: Feb 21, 2013 12:26 PM

    I have no intention of trying to disparage one of the very best players in the NFL, but like Schwartz said, this is very common. Anyone catching that many balls (nevermind stuff like reps in practice) is going to break some fingers. We all remember what Torry Holt’s hands look like, right?

  2. WatchThis says: Feb 21, 2013 12:26 PM

    Obviously a stud. And, you know, the best of the best will play with injury and even do great with injury. CJ is a legend. He’ll be the only CJ2K in coming years.

  3. dirtyjersey9er says: Feb 21, 2013 12:28 PM

    So what they are saying is that just like opposing DBs the Madden Curse tried but Calvin Johnson was just too good.

  4. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 21, 2013 12:29 PM

    Clawed his way into history with broken fingers.

  5. themackstrong says: Feb 21, 2013 12:30 PM

    I love Calvin- best WR in the league but starting to have that Roethlisberger media “I play through hurt affair”

  6. simmsmatic says: Feb 21, 2013 12:31 PM

    Really premature but if any one could take Jerry Rice’s place when its all said and done, this guy is him.

    But easier said than done.

  7. mikeknaj says: Feb 21, 2013 12:33 PM

    Titus Young is only mildly impressed – he’s so good he never breaks a finger in the first place, people.

  8. bensawesomeness says: Feb 21, 2013 12:34 PM

    if there’s one things Detroit fans, and Detroiters in general, love from their athletes, it’s them playing through pain or injuries.
    way to go, Calvin, now rest up and get ready for next season

  9. beckzhere says: Feb 21, 2013 12:36 PM

    Is it too early to punch Megatrons ticket to Canton?

  10. sportsmeccabi says: Feb 21, 2013 12:36 PM

    I think he might be the overall best player in the league. Him or JJ Watt.
    I would say Adrian Peterson, but his receiving and pass blocking still leave something to be desired.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 21, 2013 12:38 PM

    Details are sketchy, but it’s believed that Calvin played with at least two, but not more than ten, broken fingers.

  12. fatcamper says: Feb 21, 2013 12:39 PM

    This guy should be suspended from the league. His on the field activity has been detrimental to the image of the NFL by making a complete mockery of it and its defensive backs.

  13. lambeauphan says: Feb 21, 2013 12:39 PM

    records and playing through broken fingers mean nothing when your team is always losing

  14. fighting69th says: Feb 21, 2013 12:39 PM

    Obviously Stafford throws really hard. Now work on the mechanics.

  15. logicalvoicesays says: Feb 21, 2013 12:40 PM

    Top 3 WRs in professional football – Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald and Garçon.

    Johnson played through broken fingers. Fitzgerald played through broken QBs. Garçon played through sprained foot AND made the playoffs. Inspirational all around.

  16. getatmeplease says: Feb 21, 2013 12:41 PM

    Might explain a few of the drops he had during the season. Scary to think about what he can accomplish fully healthy and with a competent running game which hopefully the Lions will have someday…

  17. isphet71 says: Feb 21, 2013 12:43 PM

    Wow. Calvin just continues to reach new levels of epic.

  18. freepretzels says: Feb 21, 2013 12:43 PM

    Ok, anymore stupid online arguements about who the best receiver is in the NFL, or should he have scored more in the red zone, or can we put all that to bed?

  19. suhnami says: Feb 21, 2013 12:48 PM

    again why everyone needs to just accept the fact…megatron is the best receiver in the game

  20. ronin262 says: Feb 21, 2013 12:48 PM

    Megatron. What a great man, what a great football player. The anti-Titus Young Sr. Detroit is so lucky to have him!

  21. padresb says: Feb 21, 2013 12:49 PM

    Chris Carter isn’t impressed….

  22. andyreidisthegoat says: Feb 21, 2013 12:52 PM

    I am not saying this guy is not a beast or that his record is not a nice feat. I am just saying that the way rice achieved the record, the context in which his record was accomplished, is much more impressive. He did it while his team was winning and with a relatively balanced offense. The lions got crushed in the first half every week and faced soft defenses most of the time in the second half, and they had zero running game. All of these recent new era offensive stats are tainted. defenses cannot play defense. All of these 5,000 yard passers and 2000 yard receivers are a product of the nfl brass adjusting the rules for better tv ratings. go back to football being football.

  23. jaggedmark says: Feb 21, 2013 12:53 PM

    What Madden Curse?

  24. lks311 says: Feb 21, 2013 12:54 PM

    Well, it seems he missed 2K because of those broken fingers…the Madden Curse strikes again!

  25. obnoxiousDCfan says: Feb 21, 2013 12:55 PM

    Isn’t there some kind of rule about players playing with undisclosed injuries??

  26. 4thqtrsaint says: Feb 21, 2013 12:57 PM

    Love me some Megatron. In a world where the term “beast” is over-used, for him its true.

  27. blueballz77 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:02 PM

    As a giant’s fan I hated jerry rice Michael Irvin etc. However with Calvin there’s just no way to hate him he is just a Beast the only reason to be envious of Detroit. and that’s saying something my be the best ever

  28. westlaw1 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:06 PM

    Johnson makes it easy to root for him.

  29. davikes says: Feb 21, 2013 1:16 PM

    Not trying to disparage CJ, he’ll be a first round HOF’er. But the way teams treat the injury report is a complete joke. Why even have it?

  30. raiderufan says: Feb 21, 2013 1:18 PM

    Just imagine the amount of balls this guy has caught since just August….122 in game catches plus countless training camp and in season practice balls….

    If his hands weren’t broken I’d demand they make sure he’s not a robot.

  31. thelionsfan00 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:22 PM

    And we know how Johnson is about injuries: He plays through them. And plays like the best receiver in the NFL.


    Johnson wasn’t even the best receiver on his own team. I think you forgot about Titus Young. He was the best WR in Detroit; if you don’t believe it just ask him.

    When it is all said and done, Calvin will be a GOAT.

  32. billsboy88 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    So will the nfl be fining the Lions for not listing Johnson’s fingers on the injury report? They did it to the Bills over Mario’s wrist, how is this different?

  33. jglion says: Feb 21, 2013 1:27 PM

    Notwithstanding Gil Brandt’s wrong headed opinion, Johnson is absolutely the best receiver in football. Julio Jones is an outstanding receiver, but he’s not at Calvin’s level, particularly when you consider that Jones plays as partof the best receiving trio in the game and, because of that, rarely gets the double and even the tripple coverage that Calvin gets on every play.

  34. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 21, 2013 1:37 PM

    This is an art of hand skill, not fingers, they are merely optional in this game if you come prepared with having mental focus.

  35. itssocoldinthed says: Feb 21, 2013 1:38 PM

    I don’t understand why people keep saying that Rice’s record was more impressive than Johnson’s. First of all, he had Joe Montana throwing to him at the beginning of his career, followed by Steve Young. Second, and most importantly, Johnson broke the record with everyone in the stadium knowing where the ball was going. It’s much more easy to be effective when you are seeing single coverage and at least a threat of a run game. This season Calvin faced triple coverage practically every snap and still destroyed the record. In my opinion, that is much more impressive.

  36. warewolf94 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:42 PM

    He and Adrian Peterson are not human, they’re on a different level

  37. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:54 PM

    So the Lions didn’t disclose a serious injury for most or all of the season.

    Where are all the people screaming about the Lions cheating ? If this were the Saints, Pats, Steelers, Giants or one of a few other teams there would be 100+ posts about them cheating.

    Nice to see the double standard that most people who post here have isn’t going anywhere.

  38. godofwine330 says: Feb 21, 2013 1:55 PM

    He is going to have those “Torry Holt” fingers. Nasty.

  39. manilovethepftcensors says: Feb 21, 2013 1:57 PM

    Inevitably there are going to be a bunch of comments here about how CJ’s records are “meaningless” because the Lions had a bad season. These comments are nothing more than a shortcut to real, actual thinking.
    Do you realize that his number 2, 3, and even 4 receivers were hurt over the course of the season? How about the fact that his number 1 running back didn’t play all season?
    Therefore every team knew exactly where the ball was going yet NONE OF THEM COULD STOP HIM!
    The fact that he was playing with broken fingers just further cements the fact that he is undoubtedly the best receiver in the league and when it is all said and done he will be the greatest of all time.
    And we have him locked down for what will most likely be his entire career so your team should get used to getting balled on for years to come.

  40. chrismgillis says: Feb 21, 2013 2:02 PM

    Where are all of these 5000yd QBs and 2000yd WRs? First there are only 4 QBs in history to hit that feat. Second, Calvin broke the record with over 1900 but less than 2000. Don’t make an argument with useless information. Calvin to Canton

  41. xxsweepthelegxx says: Feb 21, 2013 2:34 PM

    Calvin Johnson IS a flat out beast. But it doesn’t hurt when your QB is setting records with 727 passing attempts in a season, CJ received 202 targets accounting for almost 30% of passes.
    IMO, you give the Lions an average running game and Johnson’s yds largely decrease and his TDs go up. Lion’s W’s probably increase more to boot.
    CJ is a lock for canton right now…that’s not even debatable.

  42. JaminJake says: Feb 21, 2013 2:36 PM

    Johnson is a Moss/Rice hybrid. Moss like physical ability with Rice’s work ethic. Can’t believe he did this with broken fingers to boot.

  43. weepingjebus says: Feb 21, 2013 2:45 PM

    There should be a safety valve clause in the CBA such that whenever any player achieves a certain level of dominance they are no longer forced to waste their career in Detroit.

  44. andyreidisthegoat says: Feb 21, 2013 3:30 PM

    * steve or joe

  45. bennyb82 says: Feb 21, 2013 3:38 PM

    As a Lions fan, I am not concerned about his broken fingers. I am concerned that he was seen walking around Detroit. Isnt there a clause in his contract that should prevent this? Way more dangerous than riding a motorcycle!

  46. mjkelly77 says: Feb 21, 2013 3:54 PM

    “Calvin Johnson broke receiving record playing through broken fingers”

    Hey, he’s Megatron.

  47. gnomad says: Feb 21, 2013 4:36 PM

    What I don’t understand is why Detroit benefitted from not reporting it. I imagine every team preparing for Det. would still be 2 or 3 teaming him and if they didn’t, reporting the injury would have actually helped Det.

  48. bunjy96 says: Feb 21, 2013 5:17 PM

    All the comments about how great megatron is are true.

    But the majority of you are missing the very important point.

    The Detroit Lion organization, deliberately, with malice and forethought chose to ignore league rules.

    What haven’t the Lions been fined? Other teams who have been guilty of this, get fined.

    This sets a very bad example by the league office.

    The rule should apply equally to all-NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!

  49. str8cashhomey says: Feb 21, 2013 5:21 PM

    Dez had almost triple the amount of td’s and he also had a broken finger

  50. anthonioustheprettygood says: Feb 21, 2013 5:35 PM

    logicalvoicesays says:Feb 21, 2013 12:40 PM

    Top 3 WRs in professional football – Calvin Johnson, Fitzgerald and Garçon.

    hahaha this never gets old. how many times does this guy post this?

    Pierre? Is that you?? hahaha

  51. str8cashhomey says: Feb 21, 2013 5:46 PM

    You can thumb me down a million times it doesn’t change the fact that what I said is true….and I never said dez was better..but he’s a cowboy so the hypocrites won’t praise him

  52. trossano says: Feb 21, 2013 5:47 PM

    Ok to the guy who made the comment about Dez

    I made an account here purely to respond to that.

    Since WHEN is 12 almost triple (aka 3 times) as many as 5, seriously? Cmon.

    I don’t even know what else to say to that comment, it was just sad.

  53. justorion says: Feb 21, 2013 6:09 PM

    I remember the Bears stopping him pretty well…

  54. str8cashhomey says: Feb 21, 2013 6:17 PM

    What’s sad is you signing up to this site because a cowboy was mention in the same breath as Calvin and you got emotional….adjust your skirt lady

  55. str8cashhomey says: Feb 21, 2013 6:19 PM

    By the way I mistakenly thought dez had 13 td’s instead of 12…..and yeah 13 is almost triple that of 5

  56. str8cashhomey says: Feb 21, 2013 6:58 PM

    Sirius NFL radio yesterday were referencing a conversation that they had with Calvin Johnson and asking his opinion of of other WRs in the league. They had lead him to Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin said that the WR he’d been paying the most attention to was Dez Bryant. Johnson said “That dude is a beast. He’s for real”

    They then went on to ask Calvin about garçon in which he replied “who?”

  57. chooko says: Feb 21, 2013 7:19 PM

    Megatron’s an easy guy to root for.

  58. west4420 says: Feb 21, 2013 7:20 PM

    Johnson and Marshall are the two most dominant receivers in the league.

    Marshall got the best of Megatron this year because of TD’s and impacting the outcome of the game but damn if it isn’t fun as hell watching those receivers in the NFC North.

    If the Lions can get that run game going and have another receiver step up Calvin should have another stellar year.

  59. woodyg says: Feb 21, 2013 8:26 PM

    Gimme a break. — What difference does it make? The Lions finished 4-12. In fact, the great CJ has only been on 1 winning team in Detroit in six seasons.

    The truly great ones lead their team to greatness. — Obviously, CJ can’t.

  60. larryboodry says: Feb 21, 2013 9:27 PM

    manilovethepftcensors says: Feb 21, 2013 1:57 PM

    “Therefore every team knew exactly where the ball was going yet NONE OF THEM COULD STOP HIM!”


    “And we have him locked down for what will most likely be his entire career so your team should get used to getting balled on for years to come.”

    None of them? The Bears shut him down rather handily, twice.

  61. larryboodry says: Feb 21, 2013 9:30 PM

    justorion says: Feb 21, 2013 6:09 PM

    “I remember the Bears stopping him pretty well…”

    Indeed…And thus keeping him from getting 2,000 yards.

  62. spavs412 says: Feb 22, 2013 12:21 AM

    Sucks Detroit wastes great talent. Sanders Johnson two of the best ever but got stuck in that city… Get out and break records while competing for rings!!!

  63. 16x8equal49ers says: Feb 22, 2013 9:49 AM

    One of the only players ever to be great the same year he appeared on the Madden cover, another record lol. Oh and he was injured so the Madden curse somewhat still stands. Terrific player.

  64. twelsh36446 says: Feb 22, 2013 10:41 AM

    Not only is Johnson the best ever, he is the best human being to play the game. Johnson has more class than any super star I’ve ever watched play. He has humility, and it was his humility that got him the title of the best wide receiver ever.

  65. voiceofreason says: Feb 22, 2013 2:56 PM

    WRs better than Garcon: Wayne, Wallace/Brown, Boldin, AJohnson, AJGreen, White/Jones, etc, etc…

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