Calvin Johnson’s relationship with the Lions remains strained, five years after his abrupt retirement from the NFL at the age of 30. So it’s not surprising that Johnson indicated he has no plans to mention the team in his 8-minute Hall of Fame speech next month.
“I’m definitely going to bring up a lot of people that I’m thankful for,” Johnson said Friday, via Clark Judge of Talk of Fame Network. “There are so many people during my career that had an impact and those specific people I’m going to try (thank) . . . at least I have them on the ticker. But I’m not going to mention everybody. As far as the Lions, hey, I got nothing to say.”
Barry Sanders didn’t mention the Lions either in his induction speech in 2004. He thanked Lions’ fans, the city of Detroit, his teammates and Wayne Fontes but not the franchise itself.
Sanders and the Lions since have resolved their differences.
The Lions would like to bury the hatchet with Johnson. But after the organization forced Johnson to pay back part of his $16 million signing bonus and refused to relinquish his rights, which would have allowed him to play elsewhere, Johnson isn’t ready to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
“It’s kind of been a standstill there,” Johnson said. “I’m five years out now. I’m not wasting any time waiting on them.”
Members of the organization, including team president Rod Wood, surely will attend the ceremonies in Canton. Johnson apparently doesn’t have anything to say to any of them personally either.
“I’m sure I’m going to run into him,” Johnson said of Wood. “But you know me: I keep it short. I keep it moving. I go about my business. Put it like this: I’m not going to be seeing my family a whole lot during this whole weekend, so I’m going to be looking forward to seeing them whenever I get a chance to. So If I pass Rod Wood, I’m going to keep moving.”z