Calvin Johnson remains separated from the Lions, the only team he played for in a nine-year career. But Lions team president Rod Wood said it’s a “top priority” to repair the relationship.
“I haven’t really talked to Calvin in the last little bit,” Wood said at the team’s “Taste of the Lions” event at Ford Field on Wednesday night, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “It’s kind of funny that you asked. I had it on my agenda today to talk internally about some things to re-approach him about getting back involved. That’s on the agenda this year, reaching out to him. We have Barry [Sanders] coming in this week for a couple events and I want to try to find a way to do something similar to what we’ve been doing with Barry, if Calvin would be interested.”
Johnson retired following the 2015 season, and the Lions forced him to return $1 million of the signing bonus he received in a 2012 contract extension. He also has expressed disappointment at the Lions not letting him out of his contract to pursue a Super Bowl championship.
Johnson becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021, so the Lions want to mend fences before then.
“It’s a very high priority,” Wood said. “I would hope, and expect, within a couple years he’ll be considered for the Hall of Fame, and I really want to have a relationship at that point, that’s productive for both sides. We can be there, celebrating with him and find ways to have him here to celebrate as well.”