Calvin Johnson hasn’t said all that much about his decision to retire — in America.
But during a promotional trip to Italy, the former Lions receiver admitted all the losing he was subject to eventually wore him out.
Via the Detroit News, Johnson told the Italian press that the losing coupled with his own injuries made it easier to walk away.
“That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “That’s the ultimate goal. … I wanted to win it, and like I said, I just didn’t see that opportunity [with the Lions].”
He played 135 games over nine seasons for the Lions, and they were 49-86 in those games.
And since American sports stars combining forces seems to have caught on in basketball, he was asked if he considered changing teams, when he expressed his frustration at not being able to.
“I mean, I thought about it,” Johnson replied. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall … and not going anywhere.
“It’s the definition of insanity,” he added with a laugh.
Johnson had previously alluded to contractual matters as a source of his frustration, and to be honest, nothing he said was false. He was stuck on a lot of bad teams, though things were turning for the better on his way out the door.