Stafford says the NFL took a toll on Megatron

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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford says his former teammate Calvin Johnson got worn down by the physical realities of playing in the NFL.

Stafford said at a coaching clinic at Georgia that after catching 731 passes in his career, Johnson had had enough.

“Not to say that I expected it, but I wasn’t shocked,” Stafford said, via the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve known Calvin for seven years and know the effort and the attitude that he plays with, and it takes a toll on people. And he was catching quite a few passes and getting hit quite a bunch, and so it takes a toll. And he’s a guy that from an offensive standpoint was touching the ball or carrying the ball just as much as anybody. So I knew the NFL was kind of wearing on him and I just told him, when he told me he was done, I just told him, ‘I’m happy for you if you’re happy.’ And that’s what you want. He’s a guy that gave everything to the game and you want him to be able to walk out on his own terms and feel like he did the right thing.”

When PFT asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his reaction to Johnson’s retirement, Goodell said he doesn’t see early retirements as a player safety problem. But there does seem to be an increasing concern among NFL players that playing a few extra years may carry more risks than rewards. The game does take a toll, and a lot of players would rather walk away too early than too late.

89 responses to “Stafford says the NFL took a toll on Megatron

  1. Yes it did, hope more of these guys are smart with their $$ & can quit before the damage is too far along.

  2. So you get paid MILLIONS of dollars to play a game, but your soul is tired? Try living on minimum wage to feed a family of 4 working 3 jobs…

  3. Megatron has accomplished so much in the NFL, appears to have left relatively healthy, and is financially able to retire young. Yes I am jealous and happy for the guy. Hope he has a long successful retirement.

  4. Let rephrase that, actually the Lions and myself took a toll on Calvin Johnson and my poor quarterbacking. Calvin made me look better than I actually am and I don’t know what I’m going to do now without him! Looks like it’s back to the drawing board again, hoping for another 0-16 season for that number draft pick so the Lions can continue to wasted superior talent and ruin their careers!

  5. Johnson did his job , made his money , when he decided he’d had enough well good for him. Gotta look out for yourself , the owners and the league will yet use you up

  6. This is why teams like the lions are door mats. Sportcenter shows megatron catching a huck up ball every week, Stafford gets his money, but he has no clue how to win games.

  7. Where are all the delusional Lion’s fans that said their hasn’t been in full swing decline (Hyzers)?

    Rodgers is better than Stafford.
    Cutler is better than Stafford.
    Bridgewater is about the same.

    Team had one little fluke playoff appearance and Suh left and they went 1-7 the first have of last season and they brag about beating the Bears the past 3 years when their team has been beaten by everyone.

    Good Luck against my Packers again, but your going to have to keep up your streak against the Bears and judging from their defensive FA acquisitions this year combined with one of the best DC coordinators in the league Stafford is going to be running for his life from that LB’er core (McPhee, Trevathan and Freeman)! Vikes D the same, very tough to beat! Lions will be dead last this year, back to their usual home!

    LoLions!!!

  8. Wow! All the crybabies who were begging on this site for Calvin to “please come to my team where you can win” are now being critical of both him and StafFORD. They were all so sure that Calvin’s retirement was a ploy to play elsewhere. They just don’t understand loyalty.

    And then there are those who are fans of other teams who assuage the fear of the Lions they live with by continually making negative comments about them. Pitiful.

  9. NFL took a toll? Bring that closer to home Matt.

    1) Stafford took a toll on Megatron. Instead of accurate passing and a balanced attack, Stafford’s erratic play resulted in resorting to many jump balls and hits on Johnson when all else failed.

    2) Combine that with having about the worst running game in the league for the past 2 years… The Lions game plans also took a toll on Johnson.

  10. bigearl61 says:
    Mar 26, 2016 5:23 PM

    So you get paid MILLIONS of dollars to play a game, but your soul is tired? Try living on minimum wage to feed a family of 4 working 3 jobs…
    —————-

    Try having less kids. Thanks.

  11. You’re all haters! Wait until the Lions win the north this season. Then we will talk. Until then, all you have is words.

  12. Guys like CJ that retire young have saved their money and made good life decisions. It’s that simple. Notice Antonio Cromartie isn’t hanging up his cleats.

  13. You’re all haters! Wait until the Lions win the north this season. Then we will talk. Until then, all you have is words.
    ————-
    Unfortunately as a Lions fan, all you have is words.

  14. bigearl61 says:
    Mar 26, 2016 5:23 PM

    So you get paid MILLIONS of dollars to play a game, but your soul is tired? Try living on minimum wage to feed a family of 4 working 3 jobs…
    —————-

    Try having less kids. Thanks.
    —————

    Couldnt have said it any better. Don’t have the cash to raise your kids, use protection. Don’t hate on a man for making millions and is able to retire at a young age for no other reason than being tired.

  15. jackedupboonie says: Mar 26, 2016 5:03 PM

    Wow….Stafford sucks….his career was all because of megatron.
    ============================================================================
    Quit posting before you Embarrass yourself even more than you have already done, if that is possible.
    I am not a Lions fan, but I am a Football fan, that’s something you obviously know nothing about.

  16. There is an extra tax of playing in Detroit, and not being very consistent, not making the playoffs a lot, and who can forget the 0-16. Megatron was one of the best athletes to play WR, he was great to watch, from college to the Pros.

    As far as Stafford goes he absolutely deserves some of the criticism right now, he is at the point where he needs to make the players around him better, the guy has made over 80 Million just in guaranteed money in his career, and now he needs to do it without one of the best.

    I never would have thought Megatron would retire before Larry Fitz

  17. Awful lot of Lion hate. Sure Megatron made Stafford better, but what great WR doesn’t make their QB look better? Stafford is a good, not elite QB made better by a HOF-caliber WR. The Lions played pretty well at the end of last season,including squashing the Pack at Lambeau, which is reason enough to sing their praises.

  18. senatorblutarsky says:
    Mar 26, 2016 6:05 PM

    Wow! All the crybabies who were begging on this site for Calvin to “please come to my team where you can win” are now being critical of both him and StafFORD. They were all so sure that Calvin’s retirement was a ploy to play elsewhere. They just don’t understand loyalty.

    And then there are those who are fans of other teams who assuage the fear of the Lions they live with by continually making negative comments about them. Pitiful.

    ________________________________________

    Ford Sucks, Garbage Cars and Garbage Football, Detroit Lions, get over it SenatorCORKsky!

  19. Quit posting before you Embarrass yourself even more than you have already done, if that is possible.
    I am not a Lions fan, but I am a Football fan, that’s something you obviously know nothing about.

    What has Stafford accomplished?

  20. bigearl61 says:
    Mar 26, 2016 5:23 PM

    So you get paid MILLIONS of dollars to play a game, but your soul is tired? Try living on minimum wage to feed a family of 4 working 3 jobs…
    —————-

    Try having less kids. Thanks.
    —————

    Couldnt have said it any better. Don’t have the cash to raise your kids, use protection. Don’t hate on a man for making millions and is able to retire at a young age for no other reason than being tired.

    How about making better life choices? Whose fault is it that somebody has 3 minimum wage jobs and a family of 4?… But, at least that person is working 3 jobs and not relying on gov’t payday every 2 weeks.

  21. Wow, these Detroit fans sound worse than the Cleveland fans. Maybe it is because the only people up reading and commenting on PFT on a Saturday evening are Geezers like me or guys whose wives got the house and they are back living with Mommy.

    Look guys it takes some luck and some serious work to get to the upper echelons of the NFL. Ozzie Newsome has drafted Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Chris McAlister, Heloti Ngata, Tyrell Suggs and some other very fine players in the last 20 years. That is how you win a championship every once in a while.

  22. jackedupboonie says:
    Mar 26, 2016 5:13 PM
    Dave Krieg has more playoff wins than Stafford.
    _______________

    And that’s relevant to the discussion in what way? The guy threw Megatron passes for 7 years and is his friend, he is certainly more than qualified to speak on the subject.
    To use Krieg’s win total as an insult to Stafford is a disservice to both of them. I’m not a ‘Hawks fan but I am a football fan and I always enjoyed watching Krieg play, he was definitely a better QB than Stafford has shown to date but the win total comparison is meaningless. He had a 19 year career, Stafford’s been playing for 7. Krieg has more wins than all but 17 other QB’s since ’49, is that cause to denigrate let’s say Troy Aikman? How about Steve Young, Staubach, Fouts or Rodgers? I think Krieg was a great QB that never gets his due but I’d take any one of them over him. If Stafford plays another 12 years he will easily eclipse Krieg’s win total but that won’t make him a better QB.

  23. Hope Calvin decides to come out of retirement & does it because a deal is worked w/ Patriots…
    Detroit gets Amendola, 2016 2nd, & 2016 6th
    Pats get rights to Calvin from Detroit & Calvin signs a 4 yr deal 40 million w/30 guaranteed…. Finishes his career w/Brady
    Go Pats… Ahhhh nice to dream!!!

  24. Wallet envy is the worst characteristic of far too many sports fans.

    The dude quit to save his body for the remaining 60, 70, 80 years of his life.

    Smart play, CJ.

  25. Calvin, come play for the Pats for 3 years. Get a SB, 250 more passes and another 30 or so TDs bro. Then you’re a lock for the Hall.

  26. kissbillsrings says:
    Mar 26, 2016 7:56 PM
    Hope Calvin decides to come out of retirement & does it because a deal is worked w/ Patriots…
    Detroit gets Amendola, 2016 2nd, & 2016 6th
    Pats get rights to Calvin from Detroit & Calvin signs a 4 yr deal 40 million w/30 guaranteed…. Finishes his career w/Brady
    Go Pats… Ahhhh nice to dream!!!
    __________________________________

    Don’t worry Goodell is already in the process of making this happen.

    Just when you think patriot fans would be satisfied with being the only team in the league allowed to cheat, they still want more.

  27. Calvin spent alot of his career doing one of two things, skying up and landing on his back or taking a quick slant and getting popped over the middle. The Lions knew they had a star on their hands and gave him every opportunity to make plays and set records. Unfortunately yes there is a toll on the body, but Calvin was careful to point out he doesn’t want to be involved with the narrative that players are retiring early and hate the NFL.

    Let him go quietly into retirement and be sure to reflect on some highlight videos because if you like football this was one exciting player.

  28. A huge part of winning is to also have the right coaches. The Patriots had some pretty good talent back in the late 70s and early 80s; Stanley Morgan, Harold Jackson,Sam Cunningham and Julius Adams to name a few. I don’t think they were better than the Steelers but they should have at least been making the playoffs. But imo due to Coach Ron Earhardt’s (if I recall correctly) incompetence, they would sporadically make the playoffs.

    Another point on coaching, Jim Fassal and his staff never fixed Tiki Barber’s fumbling problem over the several years that they had him. The minute Tom Coughlin and his staff came on board, they fixed it. They quickly diagnosed he was holding the ball low and loose, instead of high and tight.

  29. Just going to throw out a highly unlikely but fun to imagine scenario… Calvin Johnson gauges his interest in MLB. Have you seen the video of him crushing homers at a Detroit Tigers batting practice a couple years ago? He’s an incredible athlete who could certainly generate a contract from a curious team. I doubt that this would ever become a reality because he’s already made his money but it would be awesome.

  30. I saw someone post “What has Stafford accomplished?”…….at the very least, he is an NFL QB, have people like you hating & posting comments about him. He also is rich, probably has a decent family…hus accomplishments are plenty…

  31. purpleguy says:
    Mar 26, 2016 6:46 PM

    The Lions played pretty well at the end of last season,including squashing the Pack, which is reason enough to sing their praises.
    ______

    You’re right, the teams that haven’t won Superbowls in the NFC North usually chalk up the GB game as their big game.

    As long as either of those teams win 1 game vs. GB, there some of their fans are satisfied no matter how unsuccessful the rest of the season is.

  32. jackedupboonie says:
    Mar 26, 2016 9:36 PM
    Great career…with nothing in post season….nothing.
    _____________

    Again, what does that have to do with the subject at hand? But for the record in 2 playoff games 17 receptions on 23 targets for 296 yards and 2 td’s. He sure as hell held up his end. Calvin Johnson was a bad bad man between the lines unfortunately for him all too often the team itself was just plain bad.

  33. As bad as the haters make it sound TRUE Lions fans aren’t worried. Missed the playoffs by TWO PLAYS. A batted ball on a Monday in Seattle and a HAIL MARY answered in Detroit on a Thursday. Stafford is the least of my concern. 70% completions 19 TD and 2 INT over his last 8 games. And a new OC?

  34. I feel bad for lions fans. This is like Barry Sanders retiring early all over again. All world talent in CJ. He knows he wont see a super bowl there and the losing probably made him reevaluate his priorities. I loved watching that man play and i wish him the best in everything going forward.

    Thanks for entertaining us CJ, you were great!

  35. Calvin Johnson was always a man among boys, on and off the field;

    his retirement only underlined that fact;

    there are not 10 other players on his level in the entire league, certainly not the current crop of spoilt brat crybaby star QBs;

    any one could see his career was over when Detroit didn’t put him in the end zone to defend against the ridiculous Michigan Mulligan that ensured once more a particularly pathetic Green Bay team was in the playoff spotlight again, fattening the league coffers artificially with another illegitimate visit by one of their trumped-up QB starss;

    at least he went out like a man, without the beauty queen-phony tears and other antics when man-children bow out;

  36. I know there are a lot of Terrell Owen haters out there, but it just goes to show how great he was for being able to play as long as he did.

  37. I said what a sad day in football it was when he announced his retirement, and I truly meant it. The man wan was not only gifted on the football field, but obviously he was given the intelligence to know when his body had just had enough. Someone asked Matthew Stafford his thoughts on Calvin’s retirement. He gave them. I’m not sure why it gives people so much pleasure to put Matt down at this point?? I’ve read so many posts basically saying HE drove him away. Hmmmm… Interesting. Now, if we look at the NFC North QBs, especially the Bears QB situation, how many receivers, RBs, coaches, etc, has that QB driven away???? What have they won with him??? Just sayin’…….

  38. If you’re smart, live within your means, and invest well, you can be set for life after a short NFL career. Especially if you’re well-spoken, in which case you can go on TV after playing and pad those accounts.

    As fans, we love the guys who play for the love of the game and have long careers but the reality is that for most of these guys it’s a job.

  39. His size and strength are what did him in. Too big for D-backs to wrap up and tackle. Having people diving at his lower legs all the time, meant he was always dealing with ankle and knee issues.
    Wish him the best.

  40. Well I say Stafford took a tool on Megatron……if this guy had a better QB he would have at least 1 SB by now…

  41. The Tron handled his business with grace and class and would be a welcomed member on any NFL team tomorrow.
    Every team in the NFL could have signed T.O. or Randy Moss at the end of their careers and PASSED.
    What does that tell you?

  42. I love how people hate behind their keyboard! Get out of your mom’s basement Lion haters and grow up. You guys are tools and pretty pathetic! CJ was great and retired at the right time. Good for him and I wish him nothing but the best.

  43. Please allow me to correct my false rant, I am sorely mistaken:

    The Bears won a Playoff game with Jay Cutler.

    Emery, who got fired paid Jay Cutler the monster QB contract, not Jay’s fault.

    Brandon Marshall wasn’t driven away, he was traded for a 6th round pick and removed from the Bears.

    Matt Forte wasn’t driven away, in fact he wanted nothing more than to retire a Bear and broke all kinds of RB receiving records on the Bears with Jay Cutler throwing to him.

    Martellus Bennett wasn’t driven away he was desperately removed and traded for a 6th round draft pick.

    The most embarrassing part of my total false opinion about Jay Cutler and the Bears is that Ryan Pace and John Fox are keeping Jay and rebuilding around him because he’s better than half the league including our under achieving severe lack of talent QB that is Teddy Bridgewater.

  44. I have to agree with most of the losers on here that Stafford is somewhat at fault for Calvins injurys throughout his career..however Calvin Johnson did sign that monster contract with the Lions a ways back to stay in Detroit.. so the argument is moot.

  45. Who the heck is this looney viking fan ranting about the Bears, you need to relax dude this article is about Matt Stafford and the Lions.

    Stafford will do just fine and Lions fans know what they have in him. They played very well the second half of the season without Calvin for a lot of the games.

  46. Oh, no, no, no, on that YOU false vikingf0rlife YOU are mistaken! Where shall I begin with the underachieving Jay Cutler and the Bears are concerned??? This article was about Megatron. Matthew Stafford was asked about him. He answered. People ripped on him for being the reason he left. Not fair. He stayed with the team ALL these years? Don’t you think he would have asked for a trade if he really thought WINNING and going to a new team with a different QB was the answer? NO. He wanted to retire a Lion. He didn’t say ONE bad word about Stafford. Not one! Now, those Bears you spoke of, well, I don’t see them retiring, while poor Matt Forte wanted to retire a Bear, they showed their TRUE colors and DIDN’T even offer him a deal! How is that for loyalty to a player who broke all those records??? (and that was not because of Jay Cutler by the way, that was all Matt). And as for Pace and Fox, they have to build around Cutler with that ridiculous contract, NO CHOICE!!! So don’t try and sell me that crap. And quit using my handle already!!!

  47. Ionlyrootforthewinningteam: I know this is about Matt Stafford and the Lions. That was my point, and that was what I was trying to get across with my first post, but that troll that has stolen my handle is a real piece if work. Sorry. I wish Stafford luck I do, even though we are in the same division, I have always liked the guy. I for one, do not think his success rested solely on Calvin Johnson.

  48. Shame to see him go…he was the Lions offense, and when your up against them, double team CJ and all will be good, except for the odd long ball CJ will reel in. It is similar situation to Gronk, except Brady had outlet catchers to lessen the burden. Still, Gronk has gone through multiple surgeries. CJ stayed relatively healthy.
    CJ will have to take solace in the millions he made, but part of me feels bad he landed on a bad team, one unable to get over the hump. If he was on a team that had some success, he’d still be playing. Nothing kills the soul than playing on a perennial loser. How I wish he’d come back for a cameo on a winning team.

  49. kissbillsrings says:
    Mar 26, 2016 7:56 PM

    Hope Calvin decides to come out of retirement & does it because a deal is worked w/ Patriots…
    Detroit gets Amendola, 2016 2nd, & 2016 6th
    Pats get rights to Calvin from Detroit & Calvin signs a 4 yr deal 40 million w/30 guaranteed…. Finishes his career w/Brady
    Go Pats… Ahhhh nice to dream!!!
    ^
    Deal! If you want a 30 year old wr with bad knees and ankles that spends every week on the injury report he’s all yours! Would love those draft picks too.

  50. The season is too long. It should be no more than 14 games–and yet playoff teams are playing 17-19 games. Given the nature of pro football, that is absolutely crazy. You’re damn straight it is hard on the players. One season is hell on the body–much less 5 or more. This is why careers are short. And yet the GREEDY owners and their PR man, Goodell, want to lengthen the season, so rich men can stuff more money in their pockets at the expense of players. The seasons in every pro sport are far too long–all thanks to good. old-fashioned greed.

  51. Florio says:
    MAR 26, 2016

    Goodell said he doesn’t see early retirement as a player safety problem.
    ≠≠========+======================
    And that’s why he’s our commissioner folks, the man is a genius. Until reading this quote from Goodell, I was certain that early retirement would take its toll on NFL players. Sure glad he cleared that up for us.

  52. The average NFL Career is about 3 years, and remember most of these players that hit 30 have played football at least half their lives, that all adds up.

    This guy has been trying to tough out injuries to play for the Lions a lot, to step on the field game day for Detroit, and maybe he is just done with all of it, maybe he wants to work out, rehab injuries less and, focus more on other things he desired to accomplish in life.

  53. the solution is so elegantly simple, as they often are;

    enlarge the field by 20-30%;

    now the 300-400 pound behemoths will have to give way to more cardiovascularly-conditioned kind of players one might find in rugby or lacrosse or soccer, collisions will be of a more isolated one-on-one nature and reduced in impact even on kickoffs as precious few players can maintain their same velocity over a 130 by 70 yard field they can currently and still be able to recover from missing a tackle and have enough left to run down a ballcarrier on a field that size;

    more running room means more spread out formations and less of the kind of car crash-level collisions that today have clearly been proven to lead to concussions and CTE and related maladies players endure after their careers end;

    of course the NFL will have to go back to the federal witness protection programme to hire more blind imbeciles for referees, but that will only increase the drama in what currently amounts to a WWE-style testosterone-infused drama, no?

    enlarging the field just may be the only thing that can save the NFL;

  54. jackedupboonie says: Mar 26, 2016 7:27 PM
    What am I exactly wrong about. Please tell me
    ========================================================================

    Lambeau…
    Sorry I actually went to church and spent time with Family..
    What you are wrong about?
    I don’t think I have enough room,You blame Stafford for everything,
    WRONG……Stafford is good, he has a poorly coached line, bad drafting, tying too much money into too few players…… Stafford doesn’t call the plays, it is the OC and HC that call the plays that get receivers blown up.
    Ownership doesn’t realize a team with this many problems can’t get fixed in 2-3 years, but that is what happens, change coach AGAIN now Stafford has to learn all the offense AGAIN, they try to re-coach Stafford… They need to bring in a coach that is a FIXER, then pick who is under performing and can them
    you cant blame a team loss on one player. Owner needs to stay OUT of player decisions..

  55. Wrong answer. I think it was the fact he made 90 million in the last 5 years and like Barry Sanders did he asked himself why am I playing my ass off for this organization when they have only made to a NFC title game once (91) and have 1 playoff win in 25 years and never do anything to make the team better. It’s not worth it anymore. Scary time right now if you are getting ready as a player to be drafted cause this is one org. I don’t think I would want to play for and if undrafted I would take less to sign elsewhere. This team should be sold, the Fords solid people but have never done anything to make the team into a winner from personnel to coaching hires and there two best players in the modern area just quit. Something is underlying and needs to be said and one day it may come out. I think there needs to be a sale of the team and get football people in there. Even though wiseenhunt was fired from Tennessee he was lined up and practically given the lions job if he wanted it but chose tenn. there was a quote from a best writer in San Diego that asked him why he chose tenn over Detroit when they had a lot more to work with two years ago and his response was I don’t think they know what they are doing with the organization in addition I really don’t want to go from San Diego to Detroit.for any reason. Wow, wish I was a fly in that wall or them walls in Detroit during the season.

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