Report: Calvin Johnson told family, coach 2015 is his final year

AP

At a time when many think Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is thinking about whether to retire, ESPN reports that the thinking stage ended months ago.

According to ESPN, Johnson previously told his family and a close circles of friend that 2015 would be his final season of football. The day after the season ended, Johnson reportedly told coach Jim Caldwell the same thing.

Per the report, Caldwell told Johnson not to rush his decision, and to take some time with it. Johnson agreed to do that.

If Johnson indeed retires, he’ll owe the Lions $3.2 million in previously paid signing bonus money. (And if anyone thinks the Lions won’t recover that money, they should ask Barry Sanders for his opinion on that specific dynamic.)

If Johnson waits until the start of free agency, the Lions will have to account for his $24 million cap number, which means that the Lions possibly would cut him. Not only would that absolve him of any repayment obligation, but it also would allow him to continue his career with a team other than the Lions, if he so desires.

The Lions may want Johnson to continue playing, but not at that cap number, or at a salary of nearly $16 million. He isn’t the guy he used to be, in large part due to the pounding he has taken. Still, if Johnson is truly finished, he needs to use that looming cap number as leverage to keep the $3.2 million.

119 responses to “Report: Calvin Johnson told family, coach 2015 is his final year

  1. enatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 12:05 PM

    Bob Quinn is assembling quite a group of his own choosing. I believe that he knows what he’s doing and can’t wait to see these guys do their stuff.

    _______________________________________

    He hired some college coach no one has ever heard of. Stop saying stuff just to say it, as if you’re on a personal level with the GM. You’re just a fan of the team you don’t work in the front office and you literally have no clue what your talking about.

  2. What a shame!!!

    As a Vikings fan this is bittersweet.

    The Lions are going to be the worst team in the division for the next 10 years but nobody wants to see a once in a lifetime talent retire at least 5 or 6 seasons early.

  3. This is not about 3.2 million which is pocket change to Calvin.. he will pay the money back if he has to unlike what the last paragraph is trying to instigate because we all know Calvin isn’t that type of person.. another great career wasted in Detroit!

  4. Will the Lions gamble 16 mil for a declining player that doesn’t want to be there to try and save 3.2 mil? I say no, they’ll cut him and that will be that.

  5. It’s also worth noting that Megatron and Patrick Willis were in the same draft class. Arguably the best class ever.

    I hope Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Joe Thomas don’t get any ideas!

  6. If he will, great but brief career.

    He will either be Sterling Sharpe or Gale Sayers for wide receivers when HOF voting comes up.

    However, let’s revisit his situation until mid-August. Training camp will be taking place and there’s always a chance for a comeback.

  7. He’s looked increasingly tired in recent years.

    However, even while playing at subpar levels for him, he still turned in numbers most NFL receivers would die for.

    We’ll miss you Mega. Thanks for being an outstanding player and an outstanding guy!

  8. When you start thinking about retirement it’s time to go. Can’t blame him for leaving a violent game with his health.

    A great receiver who was declining (although still very good and better than the majority).

    HOFer or not? 731 catches, 11619 yards, 83 TDs

  9. Take a long walk with Bill Belichick before you make any snap judgments. If it happens to cross one of the practice fields just as the sun is coming up and the smell of fresh cut grass and the distant clink of the equipment guys rises up to meet a majestic bald eagle soaring overhead into the dusky blue sky of an unclouded future filled with promise, just go with it.

  10. Wow! Sad to see him go. No doubt he could have played for a lot longer. No doubt the Lions are going to have to address WR (again) in the draft. Enjoy retirement Megatron!

  11. This should be a no brainer. He should do nothing, make the team cut him allowing him to keep the 3.2 and sign with a winning team he wishes

  12. Maybe the fact that Megatron had a very bad season from a statistical standpoint. Didn’t get targeted much by Stafford and dissapeared at times in games.

    Too bad he joins the list of “elite players who doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring”.

  13. Guy hurts more putting on his slippers in the morning more than most experience in a year. And I bet he hurts all day, every day.

    He was spectacular and I’m just thankful I got to watch him play and he’s earned early retirement.

  14. I don’t know if he is making a power play or not… and i don’t care hebhad been a stand up dude and should be allowed whatever he wants to… If he is concerned about concussions and wants to get out sone it. As long as he doesn’t start waffling like Favre he will go out respected by the majority of football fans

  15. The lions have a new attitude and direction. I think they work it out so they cut him to give him the money, save the cap space. Then he signs a one day contract and retires a Lion. Perception by players of a team matters when choosing their next one. If you stiff a great team guy like Calvin where does that leave anyone else.

    IMHO definitely a Hall Of Famer.

    He kind of reinvigorated the place for the bulky receiver with crazy skills. Paved the way for the likes of Julio etc…

    He had terrible to below average QBs pretty much his whole career. He was constantly double teamed and still put up crazy numbers. For the opposition the defensive game plan pretty much started and ended with trying to stop Calvin and ignored pretty much everything else.

    He was one of the few reasons people paid any attention to DET.

    For years he carried that team on his shoulders and won games almost single handily.

  16. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that this decision entered his mind after seeing Antonio Brown take over the #1 spot as the world’s greatest receiver.

  17. That’s a shame. He got tired of losing because all his career he had a bum pig skinned neanderthal for a QB. Just like Barry Sanders, he’s a great player who ended his career way too early.

  18. Being part of an organization like Detroit will put a toll on anyone. I don’t know who is more of an embarrassment to play for, Detroit or Minnesota or the Bears, but only since Trestman took over and good for the Bears that they have Fox now. That division has been a free ride for the Packers the past 3-4 years, although they did lose to all three division opponents at home this past year. Packers are still the best team and I don’t care what these Vikings fans say about their fluke season. The defense is good, but Bridgewater can’t make a big play to save his life.

    Farewell Calvin, may you at least find another team to give you a chance at a ring if you so choose to keep playing.

    Lions are garbage, so much wasted talent has gone through that team, it’s so disheartening.

  19. The Lion’s offense is actually better when he is not in the lineup because they throw the ball too frequently to him when he is playing, and not often enough to the other receivers

  20. The greatest WR of his generation. HOF guaranteed. One of the classiest players in the league. Most receiving yards in a single season. Over 325 yards in a single game. Monster numbers in both playoff games he played. Never talked trash, complained and always had a positive attitude. Thanks for everything Calvin. #AllHailMegatron

  21. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what the real situation he’s retiring. Money? Lack of belief of the teams direction? Whatever it may be, if he does sign with another team their should be some sort of compensation to Detroit. I’m not a fan but I do feel for them. Besides the football stuff and the contaminated drinking water… They need something to keep their sprites up. And it’s his right to be able to go and do what makes him happy, he’s earned it

  22. If you went to the PATRIOTS in 2015 you would be playing in Super Bowl 50.

    TB had virtually no one to throw to for the remaining seven games.

    CJ would of been the X Factor in just one of those losses and then the AFCCG would of been at Foxboro.

  23. darkneptune73 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 6:03 PM

    Maybe the fact that Megatron had a very bad season from a statistical standpoint. Didn’t get targeted much by Stafford and dissapeared at times in games.
    ———————
    1,023 snaps. 1,214 yards. 13.8 average. 9 TDs. 5 dropped passes. Terrible.

  24. cowboy2016 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:31 PM

    He’s pulling a Barry Sanders just like I thought.
    ___________________

    Barry Sanders announced he was retiring by faxing a letter to his hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle. Just before the start of training camp. The Lions didn’t have a chance to draft a replacement or plan ahead in any way. Calvin isn’t doing this.

  25. Newton,Calvin Benjamin,Devin Funchess, Megatron, Ginn. Panthers already gonna own the NFL for years might as well let Megatron get a ring too.

  26. headwoundharry says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:33 PM

    Not only are the Lions so bad and the city such a filthy place to live, the Lions can’t keep their super stars with any amount of money.
    __________________

    How bad is that head wound, Harry? The Lions are on the upswing and anybody with any money lives in the suburbs. Very nice area actually. I guess too many people speak from a locus of ignorance.

  27. calvinthegreat82 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:34 PM

    enatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 12:05 PM

    Bob Quinn is assembling quite a group of his own choosing. I believe that he knows what he’s doing and can’t wait to see these guys do their stuff.

    _______________________________________

    He hired some college coach no one has ever heard of. Stop saying stuff just to say it, as if you’re on a personal level with the GM. You’re just a fan of the team you don’t work in the front office and you literally have no clue what your talking about.
    _________________

    My, my. Such vitriol. That time of the month, huh? I never said I was on a personal level with the GM. But I read. You should try it sometime.

  28. As a Vikings fan, I always would be perfectly OK with this guy putting up big time numbers against the Vikes. It was expected and even cooler to watch. He never once got in trouble or said anything stupid. I feel bad for lions fans.

  29. weepingjebus says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:44 PM

    Take a long walk with Bill Belichick before you make any snap judgments. If it happens to cross one of the practice fields just as the sun is coming up and the smell of fresh cut grass and the distant clink of the equipment guys rises up to meet a majestic bald eagle soaring overhead into the dusky blue sky of an unclouded future filled with promise, just go with it.
    _____________________

    Will Calvin also be hearing the hiss of a slow release of air from a football?

  30. senatorblutarsky says:

    “The Lions are on the upswing and anybody with any money lives in the suburbs.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Firing your GM, losing your best defensive player (Suh) last year, losing your best offensive player (Johnson) as of today and having a 90 year old women running the show is hardly an upswing, you Lions fans are probably the most delusional, desperate fan base in the history of the world!

  31. senatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:08 PM
    weepingjebus says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:44 PM

    Take a long walk with Bill Belichick before you make any snap judgments. If it happens to cross one of the practice fields just as the sun is coming up and the smell of fresh cut grass and the distant clink of the equipment guys rises up to meet a majestic bald eagle soaring overhead into the dusky blue sky of an unclouded future filled with promise, just go with it.
    _____________________

    Will Calvin also be hearing the hiss of a slow release of air from a football?

    ————————————
    No, but you will in your imagination for the rest of your life.

    Fiction must be fun.

  32. hyzers says:
    Jan 31, 2016 6:34 PM

    The greatest WR of his generation. HOF guaranteed. One of the classiest players in the league. Most receiving yards in a single season. Over 325 yards in a single game. Monster numbers in both playoff games he played. Never talked trash, complained and always had a positive attitude. Thanks for everything Calvin. #AllHailMegatron
    ____________________

    How can anyone disagree with this and give it a “thumbs down”? Everything stated is true. If you’re jealous of Calvin playing for the Lions all these years give this a “thumb down”.

  33. xavier179 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:49 PM
    A ploy for a new renegotiated contract…book it!
    _______________________

    Umm, his existing contract is already all the “ploy” anyone would need is that were the case

  34. taintedsaints2009 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:08 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I always would be perfectly OK with this guy putting up big time numbers against the Vikes. It was expected and even cooler to watch. He never once got in trouble or said anything stupid. I feel bad for lions fans.
    ___________________

    Thanks. As an old school Lions fan I always felt bad that Tarkenton never won a Super Bowl. I’ve actually met him through business and once asked him about those three Super Bowls. He denied that it bothered him but his eyes said something different.

  35. If he is retiring and not leveraging a move to a contender, this is how it should be done. Go out when you still have plenty in the tank. Go out and give the organization that invested million in you an opportunity to plan for your replacement(s.) Calvin Johnson is second only to Jerry Rice in this modern era. He is a classic like Barry Sanders was. Of course, I wish he could have helped the Lions to a title, but I will appreciate that I got to see him play and will appreciate him even more when he is a first ballot HOF.

  36. ejmat3 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:09 PM

    senatorblutarsky says:

    “The Lions are on the upswing and anybody with any money lives in the suburbs.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Firing your GM, losing your best defensive player (Suh) last year, losing your best offensive player (Johnson) as of today and having a 90 year old women running the show is hardly an upswing, you Lions fans are probably the most delusional, desperate fan base in the history of the world!
    ____________________

    I’m not qualified to speak for “Lions fans” in general but as for me I’m not delusional or desperate. Just loyal and confident.

  37. packinggreens says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:46 PM
    Come on over to Green Bay CJ. Want to play with an MVP quarterback? Make a run at your ring with the green and gold babay

    ummm, 31 teams “make a run ” at the ring every year. green bay aint all that anymore.

  38. bill belicheat will offer the lions a 7th rd pick for megatron. if he gets him he’ll tell megatron the patriot way speech and try to sign for the privilege of wearing the elvis helmet. not drafting megatron was al davis’ 2nd biggest mistake . the first one was not drafting dan marino and taking usc center don mosebar.

  39. For those of you that believe he’ll be suiting up again, you’re delusional. Calvin has enough money, and too many miles on his body. He doesn’t need to stick around, and be one of these guys who debilitated from injuries after his career.

    As a Bear’s fan, one of my favorite Lions of all time. Sanders being the other. Class acts, and players who just mesmerized on the field.

  40. senatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:08 PM
    Will Calvin also be hearing the hiss of a slow release of air from a football?
    =============================
    No, but the splattering in the toilet lets all know it’s a troll with their usual ….

    say Hi to Fran

  41. Not surprised. The mans taken a beating the last 9 years and when the body says its time, its time.

  42. The Lions are not paying Johnson $16MM and he isn’t giving them back $3MM, whether he retires or not. He’s an icon in that city, and it will be sad to see him play elsewhere, but guys have a hard tie giving up one last shot at a ring (and a few million).

    I am not sure what Johnson could demand on the open market if he decides to keep playing. He would want to go to a winner (a sure thing winner) and a QB that would get him the ball but he also needs a coach like Gregg Popovich that would use him strategically. Belichick has proven he is willing to play key players strategically. Everyone can say Bill’s strategy down the stretch lost the team home field advantage but look at how well Gronk played in Denver. I am sure Bill and Tom would jump at dumping LaFell in a heartbeat to add even a part-time Calvin Johnson.

  43. Nine years, two postseason trips. People like stats to measure greatness and his stats are up there with the best, but in the end two playoff games will sully those numbers. Not his fault, just like Sanders the organization has failed him in that regards. He’s ben handsomely compensated but year after year of shoddy product has driven out his desire. More stat machine WRs and QBs will suffer this fate.

  44. As a die hard Packers fan, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, thank you Calvin for representing the game the right way and playing your heart out on Sundays. The NFL needs more Calvin Johnson’s in the league, and less drama queens. Always a class act to the bitter end.

  45. 13arod says:
    Jan 31, 2016 8:01 PM
    senatorblutarsky Calvin Johnson isn’t a HOF player lol he would have to play good for a couple more years for that to happen
    ————————————————————
    That’s ridiculous. Johnson will enter the Hall without even having to complete the process.

  46. packinggreens says:
    Jan 31, 2016 5:46 PM
    Come on over to Green Bay CJ. Want to play with an MVP quarterback? Make a run at your ring with the green and gold baby

    cam newton is at carolina, not green bay

  47. aljack88 says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:47 PM

    senatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 7:08 PM
    Will Calvin also be hearing the hiss of a slow release of air from a football?
    =============================
    No, but the splattering in the toilet lets all know it’s a troll with their usual ….

    say Hi to Fran
    ___________________

    Why, it’s another patsy in denial. And expressing that denial in scatological terms, the lowest form of response. Fitting.

  48. 13arod says:
    Jan 31, 2016 8:01 PM

    senatorblutarsky Calvin Johnson isn’t a HOF player lol he would have to play good for a couple more years for that to happen
    ____________________

    If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

  49. Yes CJ sign with the deflatriots. They have cap issues so you will need to play for the veteran minimum. And you will get physically and mentally destroyed by The Denver Broncos twice a year, once in the regular season, and once in the playoffs.

  50. If I were him, my list would be:

    -Carolina
    -New England
    -Minnesota
    -Green Bay
    -Kansas City
    -Arizona
    -Seattle
    -Pittsburgh
    -Oakland

    In that order.

    PLENTY in the tank. A new situation could easily re-vitalize him.

  51. there is next to zero chance he doesn’t play again. This is to force a release so he can play for someone else. The Lions will save face, he will save face…problem solved. Expect him to go somewhere for a 4 year contract where he’ll have a chance to get a ring. If I had to put money on it he’ll end up on Dallas or the Giants.

  52. This is nothing like Barry. It was the way Barry did it more than anything.

    Megatron was great, but I think his body is more beat up than any of us know. I think most Lions fans were in the mindset of, “hopefully he will rework his deal, if not; cut him” before we started hearing of the retirement talk. I think this is a much bigger surprise to the national media than to fans and local media.

  53. Johnson has lost a step or two over the years. He can still get open and catch balls, but not at the rate of production that made us associate his name with being the best WR. Can he still play? Probably. Will he? Not if he is saying he is retiring. He would get a ring if he signed with Green Bay. I don’t see him back though. He will hang around until Detroit cuts him, he will get to keep the bonus and that will be that.

  54. Amazing physical talent… great receiver…

    HOF? Yes.

    But some things to think about…

    In 10 seasons, Calvin had ONE season with 100 or more receptions.

    In just 4 of his 10 seasons did he have 10 or more TD receptions. One year he had 4, 5 another season and yet another season with 5.

    And for all his speed and size (pretty much an unmatched combination among wideouts) his career average of yards per reception is just 15.9 yards.

    How’s that stack up all time? Calvin is tied for 121st place all time in the NFL for average yards per reception.

    Those with more yards per reception were not blessed with his combo of size, strength and speed either.

  55. I find it interesting that we learn about this hours after the Lions hired that loser Randy Edsall. The same thing happened at my alma mater when he arrived; there was a mass exodus of people leaving the program and even quitting football altogether.

  56. shlort says:
    Jan 31, 2016 9:29 PM

    Johnson has lost a step or two over the years. He can still get open and catch balls, but not at the rate of production that made us associate his name with being the best WR. Can he still play? Probably. Will he? Not if he is saying he is retiring. He would get a ring if he signed with Green Bay. I don’t see him back though. He will hang around until Detroit cuts him, he will get to keep the bonus and that will be that.
    —————————————————————-

    As a Lions fan, i’d love to see him got to The Pats. Maybe with Brady, he would do what Moss did while with Brady.

    But honestly, I think his body is just beat up. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him come out of retirement in a year.

  57. He’s made a ton of money.
    Why not take a pay cut to go to a strong team to end his career with, and maybe get a super bowl.
    Such as:
    New England
    Carolina
    Seattle

  58. Man, if they cut him, the Buccaneers better sign him. With him, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson catching passes, Jameis Winston would lead the team to the Super Bowl.

  59. Growing up a Viking fan I watched Robert Smith retire when I was 16. Didn’t understand it then at all. Now watching Patrick Willis walk away last year because of all the pain he was in and hearing Calvin is going to do the same thing just makes me applaud their decision. Life is so much more to them than football. He’s got enough money and at the end of the day, he doesn’t owe anyone anything. Thank you for all the incredible entertainment Calvin. You were truly one of the best I’ve ever seen play.

  60. senatorblutarsky says:
    Jan 31, 2016 8:44 PM
    Why, it’s another patsy in denial. And expressing that denial in scatological terms, the lowest form of response. Fitting.
    ================================
    I entirely agree with your thoughts on Calvin, he, Barry Sanders and Alex Karras are my all time favorite Lions (Barry is my all time RB). However, all that aside, you are the King of Scat.

  61. This is nothing like the Barry Sanders situation. Barry Wanted to win so he wanted out of Detroit and they said no, so he retired. Calvin just doesn’t want to play football for the Lions or any other NFL team. If he wanted to play for another team I’m sure the Lions would have no problem with not paying him 24 million next year.

  62. When Bob Quinn puts a trade proposal in front of Megatron that sends him to the Pats or Panthers, he will change his mind and play 2-3 more years.

    If that doesn’t happen, we have all seen one of the most disheartening career waste-jobs on the part of the Lions. On par with the end of Sanders. Sad. First ballot HOF.

  63. It doesn’t matter what the stupid rule book says, that final play of the 2010 game in Chicago was a TD.

    I was at the game in that endzone.

    Touchdown.

    Period.

  64. You know I hope Calvin does whatever he wants. I just DO NOT understand why receivers waste their best years on teams with bad qb play. You got Calvin in Detroit, AJ with the Texans (when he did finally get out luck starts to suck), fitz between warner and palmer, list goes on and on. Just don’t get it.

  65. From the business end of this; he needs to either wait to be cut due and retain the 3.2 Mil or get the team to acknowledge the waiver of it and allow him to retire……….It is a win/win if the team agrees as it allows them to move forward knowing what the cap space savings they have and they retain his rights so he doesn’t play for someone else……

  66. Calvin Johnson has plenty going for him:

    -Engineering degree from GA Tech
    -Rookie deal around $60 million
    -Signed a seven year $132 million extension

    He leaves the game in his prime and in good health. He can now turn the page and begin a new mission.

  67. I don’t know why this keeps coming up when nothing has changed. Calvin is thinking about retiring. Chances are he will be back. We have a retired columnist here in the Detroit area who broke the original story about Johnson thinking about retiring. He has stayed closer to the situation than anyone and thinks Calvin will return. ESPN will report anything, true or not.

  68. Everyone knows they can’t have him back at the cap number, he just shouldn’t file retirement paperwork and make them cut him or they will have no money to spend during free agency.

  69. And to think a few years ago, many were calling him the greatest WR of all-time, ahead of Jerry Rice.

    I’m a big Calvin fan, but he is nowhere near Rice in the conversation for GOAT.

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