If Calvin Johnson keeps talking, the Lions eventually will be making a $20,000 contribution to the Human Fund.
With four NFL teams already fined that amount this season for violating the league’s injury-reporting rules, the Lions could be in line for a similar sanction, for failing to list Johnson on the injury report due to the consequences of a hard hit he absorbed earlier this year from Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.
Johnson previously said he suffered a concussion on the play; the team denied it. Now, via Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press, Johnson said he believes the concussion also may have caused nerve damage.
“Actually I had some nerve damage that was kind of messing up my grip a little,” Johnson said. “Not to blame that, but I think that the concussion could have had something to do with some of that damage I had going on.”
Johnson has missed plenty of practice time in recent weeks with a knee injury, but he hasn’t been disclosed this season as having a concussion or nerve damage.
Last week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh complained that players who are able to practice and play with injuries may not want their conditions to be publicized. For players like Johnson and Bills defensive end Mario Williams, the injuries are being disclosed not by the team, but by players who may be trying to explain diminished performance.
That’s why teams tell players not to talk about injuries — and it’s why the Lions could eventually find themselves getting fined for what Johnson has said.