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Report: Calvin Johnson cleans out locker, isn’t sure he wants to play

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Wednesday’s announcement from Lions receiver Calvin Johnson that an announcement regarding his future is coming seemed complex and curiously timed. But the truth may flow from the simplest explanation.

Johnson genuinely is thinking about retiring from football.

Ed Werder of ESPN, citing an unnamed source, reports that Johnson has cleaned out his locker at the team’s facility, unlike other veteran players. Johnson also reportedly has told his mother that he’s not sure he wants to play.

If he retires, Johnson will owe the Lions $3.2 million in previously-paid signing-bonus money. If he waits out the Lions and refuses to renegotiate a contract that would pay him $15.95 million in salary this season, along with a $24 million cap number, the Lions likely would cut Johnson, allowing him to keep the $3.2 million.

It also would give him the freedom to play for another team, if he changes his mind later.

Either way, Johnson seems to be, at least for now, having real questions about whether he’ll play again. And while the chronic struggles of the Lions may have something to do with that, Johnson also likely realizes that he’s not the guy at age 30 that he was in earlier years. Unless and until he comes to terms with that, it could be hard for him to continue.

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92 Responses to “Report: Calvin Johnson cleans out locker, isn’t sure he wants to play”
  1. kenberthiaume says: Jan 6, 2016 7:33 PM

    He’s getting old and slow, don’t blame him.

  2. packmanfan says: Jan 6, 2016 7:33 PM

    C’mon over across the state and a big lake to Green Bay Calvin. (You can bring your tiger to.)

    That way you will know what its like to play for a Super Bowl contending team before you retire.

  3. pbolyard says: Jan 6, 2016 7:36 PM

    Sucks to see him probably leaving Detroit here but just like Barry we couldn’t help the guy win games. To me as a fan he didn’t look into the game this year. I didn’t see that excitement in him that we have for 8-9 years. Thanks for everything Calvin. Your the only thing that made my Lions tolerable to watch since you came into the league.

  4. x716199121 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:37 PM

    But Mike, I thought he had to realize that the way his body feels now isn’t the way it will feel in a few months?

  5. professorpigskin46 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:37 PM

    “Calvin Johnson cleans out locker, isn’t sure he wants to play”

    In fact this is a regular occurrence for the Lions in January.

  6. bassplucker says: Jan 6, 2016 7:37 PM

    Playing for the Lions seems to do that to good players. I respect him a great deal but as a Bears fan, not facing him twice a year would not be unwelcome.

  7. packmanfan says: Jan 6, 2016 7:37 PM

    I’d probably quit from a company that hired a president who has zero experience or knowledge on how operations work for that particular company.

    Seeing how the Lions are becoming more of a chaotic circus, who can blame Calvin for thinking of leaving?

  8. key2heat says: Jan 6, 2016 7:37 PM

    Obviously he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy.

  9. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Jan 6, 2016 7:38 PM

    Always comported himself with style and personal grace, wish him well whatever transpires.

  10. clarencewhorley says: Jan 6, 2016 7:39 PM

    If he wants to win make about 8 million he will come to the Patriots. See Moss, Randy, 23TDS

  11. packmanfan says: Jan 6, 2016 7:39 PM

    Pull a Brett Favre and come to the Packers!

  12. staffordsyear says: Jan 6, 2016 7:39 PM

    I can’t blame him, he’s been great for the Lions in his career and is a class act. If he goes to a contender that would be fine with me also..he deserves it. Hope to see him back, if not, thank you Calvin.

  13. bonniebengal says: Jan 6, 2016 7:41 PM

    The words Carson Palmer come to mind.

  14. irishgary says: Jan 6, 2016 7:44 PM

    Don’t all players clean out their lockers at the end of the season?

  15. sidepull says: Jan 6, 2016 7:44 PM

    “Either way, Johnson seems to be, at least for now, having real questions about whether he’ll play again. And while the chronic struggles of the Lions may have something to do with that, Johnson also likely realizes that he’s not the guy at age 30 that he was in earlier years. Unless and until he comes to terms with that, it could be hard for him to continue.”

    Sports psychologist now? I just think that may be reading a bit much into it at this point in time unless you have personally talked to him about this. If not I just think that’s a bit of a reach.

  16. mcjon22 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:45 PM

    He’s so big, I’d move him to TE and let him feast on linebackers all day

  17. DonKellyBaby says: Jan 6, 2016 7:45 PM

    He’s trying to leverage the Lions. Get serious this off-season and make the right moves with the front office, Coaching staff, and roster or get me out of here. Good for him.

  18. jchipwood says: Jan 6, 2016 7:46 PM

    Don’t play then. See ya. Peace.

  19. bradyakagod says: Jan 6, 2016 7:47 PM

    Is it legal for him to retire then join the patriots like Seau did?

  20. pfffffffffffft says: Jan 6, 2016 7:50 PM

    He’s tired of being a decoy for other receivers.

  21. ReligionIsForIdiots says: Jan 6, 2016 7:51 PM

    Can’t blame him, only 53 players are fortunate enough to play for the back-to-back defending SB champion Seattle Seahawks.

  22. amaf21 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:51 PM

    Playing in Detroit seems to have that effect on people. #BarrySanders

  23. John Schwerdt says: Jan 6, 2016 7:53 PM

    He would be a perfect #2 for Beckham. I can see Eli spamming the fades already.

  24. canadianbillsfan says: Jan 6, 2016 7:53 PM

    What is it about the Lions and killing the careers of some of the greatest players ever to play the game?

  25. vancouversportsbro says: Jan 6, 2016 7:54 PM

    Detroit, where careers go to hell

  26. twomadmapper says: Jan 6, 2016 7:54 PM

    Thinking Tawmy wouldn’t mind having him as a target, stick it out and don’t negotiate another contract with the Lions…

    Come over to the dark side, join the Pat’s and get that Super Bowl ring you deserve Calvin….

  27. morr24 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:55 PM

    How do you spell leveraging tactics…..

  28. corky2141 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:57 PM

    He just said he wast Tired, not he was going to Retire!!!
    Didn’t Detroit learn anything from the Barry situation.

  29. cryeaglescry2020 says: Jan 6, 2016 7:57 PM

    Eric Rowe just breathed a sigh of relief.

  30. upnorthvikesfan says: Jan 6, 2016 8:00 PM

    Much like Sanders, he’s realizing he will never see a ring in Detroit.

  31. getakluwe says: Jan 6, 2016 8:01 PM

    It’ll be like a Carson Palmer retirement. He’ll come back when the Patriots call in July.

  32. drunkraider says: Jan 6, 2016 8:02 PM

    Cooper/Megatron/Crabtree damn that would be sweet !

  33. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 6, 2016 8:03 PM

    He’s not done, he’s just over Detroit.
    Can’t blame him. Crappy situation for years, and now some old broad is going to fix it? She might be rich, but I doubt she can straighten out an NFL franchise. She’s used to yelling at the help for screwing up the garden or whatever. Or the laundry.
    I’d bail too.

  34. rlpftt says: Jan 6, 2016 8:08 PM

    “chronic struggles of the Lions may have something to do with that”

    Full Swing Decline!!

    LoLions!!!

  35. needlescane says: Jan 6, 2016 8:08 PM

    Dude has to have something left in the tank, forget New England come to the silver and black…

  36. poorcalvinisstuckonthecrappylions says: Jan 6, 2016 8:10 PM

    The day has finally come!

    Run Calvin Run!!!

  37. akboots says: Jan 6, 2016 8:10 PM

    Don’t all players clean out their lockers at the end of the season?
    ————————————–
    Don’t you read the articles before posting??? The part where it is written, veteran players usually don’t clean out their lockers.

  38. Pointy Williams says: Jan 6, 2016 8:11 PM

    Werder’s “unnamed source” is Twitter.

  39. radrntn says: Jan 6, 2016 8:11 PM

    Gimme a break…..this guy is not going to retire, and the lions are not going to pay him 20 million plus next year…….just tell it like it is

  40. booboo31 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:12 PM

    Hopefully this isn’t because he’s overly loyal to stupid Detroit and rather retire than play for a team that can win a Super Bowl.

  41. xdolfan says: Jan 6, 2016 8:12 PM

    “If this is empty (points to the heart), this doesn’t matter (smacks the forehead).”

    – Dicky Fox

  42. metitometin says: Jan 6, 2016 8:14 PM

    Paging Mr. Bill Belichick. Give Brady the deep threat he hasn’t had in years.

  43. jaggedmark says: Jan 6, 2016 8:17 PM

    We saw Fitzgerald’s bounce back year, right? I wouldn’t necessarily say Calvin Johnson’s greatness is over just yet.

  44. learysdisciples says: Jan 6, 2016 8:19 PM

    Zzzzz….an agent fused power play.

  45. v2787 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:22 PM

    If I had to play in Detroit, I’d be looking to retire too. He’s been a great player on lousy teams, much like Barry Sanders was.

  46. maestro1899 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:24 PM

    While I agree that a team should be able to cut a player at any time and not pay him any more future money (other than guarantees), I don’t think it’s fair if a player wants to retire before the end of their deal, they have to pay back a pro-rated amount of their signing bonus.

    It’s stupid rule, since all a player who wants to retire needs to do is show up, go through the motions and get cut, and he gets to keep his signing bonus.

    Is that what the NFL wants to encourage? Why waste everyone’s time? If a player wants to retire, let him. Don’t force them to pay back any of the signing bonus.

  47. faithful49er707 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:24 PM

    Never knew so many people think gods gift to football players is the New England Patriots and Bill Bellichek

  48. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 6, 2016 8:30 PM

    ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Jan 6, 2016 7:51 PM
    Can’t blame him, only 53 players are fortunate enough to play for the back-to-back defending SB champion Seattle Seahawks.

    ________________________

    Maybe if you had fed the beast, buuuuutt that’s not how the last Super Bowl went buddy. You only won 1 not back-to-back.

  49. huggybear2014 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:31 PM

    Barry started the trend in DET.

  50. barrymichaels61 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:31 PM

    He would be a great fit in NE.

  51. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 6, 2016 8:32 PM

    add another one to the Bears hit list of NFC North players who retire after playing us…

    Favre
    McNabb
    Calvin Johnson

  52. Kingmj4891 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:34 PM

    Just remember Calvin has more class then to do the Lions bad. On numerous times Calvin said he wants to retire in Detroit.

  53. thetooloftools says: Jan 6, 2016 8:35 PM

    WAKE UP !
    He want’s out of Detroit.
    He wants to a winner.
    Who could blame him?

  54. rcampore says: Jan 6, 2016 8:41 PM

    I would hold out a few months Calvin!! I have this feeling that they are going to try and lure Coughlin there. Accorsi is there helping with the GM search and I think it’s the perfect spot for Tom to go there and make them a true competitor.

  55. ahs2 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:42 PM

    Call Jerry Jones and trade him…maybe history will repeat itself!!!

    Hardly scientific, but he and Stafford had an exchange at the 2nd of the last game that struck me as more than an :I’ll see you in a couple of months”. He is getting slower and hurt more often…

  56. babyjunkie says: Jan 6, 2016 8:43 PM

    What’s the difference? He hasn’t “played” in years.

  57. beerbratscheese says: Jan 6, 2016 8:44 PM

    If he does retire (and, as a Packers fan, I hope he doesn’t), Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson and whoever else, would make one of the greatest HoF classes in recent times.

  58. cbalboavt says: Jan 6, 2016 8:48 PM

    If Stafford hung me out to dry across the middle as often as him, I’d want to quit too…

  59. ebhaynz says: Jan 6, 2016 8:55 PM

    Mega gone.

  60. allidoiswin55 says: Jan 6, 2016 8:56 PM

    Welcome to the seahawks my friend. I’ve always dreamed you’d come over to this team and I believe you will end up in Seattle this off season..

  61. purpleguy says: Jan 6, 2016 9:04 PM

    I’d hate to see him retire, and I’d feel sorry for Lions fans if he bolted, but I’d just be damn sad if he sold his soul to play for the Patriots whose fans seem to think every fading superstar should have their brand.

  62. flairoholic says: Jan 6, 2016 9:07 PM

    He’ll obviously want to come to Minnesota… All great players when they move on from their original teams come to Minnesota. Favre, McNabb, etc etc

  63. ebhaynz says: Jan 6, 2016 9:12 PM

    Yep folks, we’ve come to the point when the players get so much money they either quit when they want to or finagle out of a contract and move to another team just by snapping their fingers.

  64. ebhaynz says: Jan 6, 2016 9:17 PM

    Mega wrong.

  65. hyzers says: Jan 6, 2016 9:20 PM

    There sure a lot of pathetic trolls commenting on this story. The story from CBS in Detroit has talked with his teammates and the consensus is that he’s in a lot of pain. One season his pinky finger was sideways for half the year. Chronic ankle issue. And to those who say Detroit ruins the careers of the best players… Both Barry and soon Calvin will be first ballot Hall of Fame players. I’d rather be in the Hall than be part of a Super Bowl winning team.

  66. narlo00 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:26 PM

    Take it to the bank, folks. Calvin Johnson or Alshon Jeffrey will be in a Vikings uniform next season. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, though.

  67. bigdawg24 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:27 PM

    Detroit is so grim, makes players just want to retire because there is no hope.

  68. futures44 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:29 PM

    Join Peyton on the HGH train and play 6 more years.

  69. damondred1 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:30 PM

    Falcons. Pair him with Julio and let him eat single coverage. Will extend his career.

  70. ivanpavlov0000 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:36 PM

    If the Lions keep Caldwell, Megatron might stay. If Caldwell is let go, Megatron will probably retire.

  71. proc2000 says: Jan 6, 2016 9:43 PM

    As a 50 year old life-long, Lions fan, the gut-wrenching, hurt never ends.

  72. taintedsaints2009 says: Jan 6, 2016 10:07 PM

    Maybe he’s pulling a Barry Sanders

  73. vegaskid21 says: Jan 6, 2016 10:07 PM

    Ha! If you think Stafford stinks now, imagine him without megatron!

  74. jim699 says: Jan 6, 2016 10:07 PM

    Didn’t you learn anything from Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham?

  75. iknoweverything2 says: Jan 6, 2016 10:08 PM

    2016’s Barry Sanders. Come on down south with a real QB. Drew is waiting.

  76. flipola says: Jan 6, 2016 10:15 PM

    I’m not really surprised. When he was at Georgia Tech, he wasn’t sure he wanted to play football professionally.

  77. stevincinci says: Jan 6, 2016 10:38 PM

    Join A J Green, next year, Calvin!!!! Damn, dreams!

  78. patsfiend says: Jan 6, 2016 10:48 PM

    Calvin and Gronk out running routes… I’d like to see that. Come to New England, big guy!

  79. destructicus says: Jan 6, 2016 11:01 PM

    I’ve always liked the kind of player he is, and the Thanksgiving game in 2015 showed he can still play at an extremely high level.

    I really hope he decides to keep going, and that he is part of a good system (wherever that may be) next year. If not for the team I follow than hopefully in the other conference.

    If he plays in 2016 he’ll still be somewhere in the top 20 of WRs.

  80. suncawy says: Jan 6, 2016 11:08 PM

    Isn’t he still in the top 5 of wide receivers in the league ? If the Lions wanted to do something right, they should let him go to a winning team, so he has a chance at winning a Super Bowl.

  81. defscottyb says: Jan 6, 2016 11:49 PM

    Just like Barry… freak of nature on a bad team in a bad city.

  82. couchbasher says: Jan 7, 2016 12:32 AM

    I give you 3.2 million reasons WHY he stays…

  83. latenightroach says: Jan 7, 2016 1:06 AM

    Sad to hear this. I never heard of any drama from this superstar, I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do.

  84. apkyletexas says: Jan 7, 2016 2:40 AM

    If Marcia Brady had tampered with his balls all these years, Calvin could have cheated his way to a ring by now. Instead, all he’s got is his pride, his mega millions, his all time records, and his integrity.

  85. 90lions81 says: Jan 7, 2016 5:37 AM

    Don’t do it Calvin… We need you. Your the greatest and you still have plenty left in the tank. I can’t lose Megatron in my life, if anything I need more. The NFL needs more.

    But if you do I understand. Barry did the same. Retiring while still in your prime leaving the fans always wanting more wondering what if… It’s stuff legends are made of and Calvin Johnson you will be a legend.

  86. noteamforlosangeles says: Jan 7, 2016 5:45 AM

    Best receiver to ever wear #81…even over T.O.

  87. stevedenetz says: Jan 7, 2016 9:17 AM

    as an older packer fan, there are 3 players I loved to watch, unless they were playing my packers. Sweetness, megatron, and my favorite non packer player of all time, barry sanders. mrs ford, make your lions relevant again. it would suck to lose 2 of the best at their position while they still had a lot to contribute. I think sanders could still play today, and there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t take calvin. I can only dream of him being in green bay.

  88. deadeye says: Jan 7, 2016 10:24 AM

    Megatron will be catching passes for either Green Bay or New England next season. More power to him…

  89. bradygirl12 says: Jan 8, 2016 11:37 AM

    It has to be tiresome to be as good as he is and play for a consistently bad team year in and year out. I know he has slowed some,but Megatron still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Another team would snag him in a heartbeat.

  90. akboots says: Jan 8, 2016 2:02 PM

    proc2000 says:
    Jan 6, 2016 9:43 PM

    As a 50 year old life-long, Lions fan, the gut-wrenching, hurt never ends.
    ———————————————
    Viking here, I kinda feel your pain.

  91. mandings36 says: Jan 8, 2016 4:18 PM

    Mr. Gettleman, you have Calvin Johnson holding on line 1

  92. immafubared says: Jan 11, 2016 7:20 PM

    I see him playing but not for the Lions. Even he has seen enough. I credit him a lot. There are a lot of lions fans who have suffered for 50 years and still don’t get it.

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