Calvin Johnson hints that he’s made up with the Lions

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The Lions and Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson have had a strained relationship ever since he retired and the team forced him to pay back $1.6 million of his signing bonus. But Johnson is hinting that the relationship has been mended.

Johnson tweeted a picture of himself at Ford Field and wrote, “Back in the Lions Den.” Johnson also wrote on Instagram that he saw Ford Field from the stands for the first time on Sunday and might buy season tickets next year.

That Johnson paid a visit to the team suggests that they’ve come to some kind of understanding. The Lions had offered to make things even with him by paying him $500,000 a year for three years to do 28 hours of promotional work, plus a $100,000 donation to his favorite charity. But Johnson turned that offer down, saying that on principle the Lions never should have taken the money from him in the first place and he shouldn’t have to do anything — even work 28 hours a year — to get it back.

Contractually, the Lions had every right to take back a portion of Johnson’s signing bonus, but teams often waive that right for retiring players, especially for first-ballot Hall of Famers like Johnson. So it’s easy to see why Johnson was miffed.

But it now appears that there’s some kind of thaw in the relationship, at least enough to make Johnson comfortable spending time with the team again.

19 responses to “Calvin Johnson hints that he’s made up with the Lions

  1. To be frank, even though I am not a lions fan, I like the culture of the Lions right now. They could stand signing a couple of talented high character vets this off season to bring a bit more stability/consistency to the team. Having Calvin visit from tkme to tkme is another great team builder. I associate all of the change to the personality of the coach…

  2. If you look closely at the picture it looks like he has a check for 1 point 6 in his left hand, hence the smile 😷

  3. As a life long Lions fan (its painful to say) and a huge fan of Calvin, He was in the wrong. Lions did not “owe” him. He was the top paid WR for years in the league. I do not feel sorry for him. He played in a system that fed him the ball and allowed him astronomical numbers. I hope him and Lions buried the hatchet so we can stop hearing about it.

  4. I wish the Raiders had drafted Johnson instead of that godawful Jamarcus Russell! Johnson was an obvious first pick. QB’s are never a sure thing.

  5. Call me shocked. I guess his bank balance is starting to wear thin. I wonder if a company I suddenly quit years ago when they needed me most would be interested in my return as a motivational speaker? It’s worth a shot, because I could use the cash.

  6. Oh good. The petulant man child got what he’s been throwing a tantrum about since he quit the team. Let me reiterate…HE quit.

  7. Yawn. The story has run its course, both sides were wrong and both sides embarrassed themselves.

    The 28 hours per year job was the right way to go but it was done in such a demeaning way that it’s no wonder he rejected it. That could have been done on the QT and the whole situation resolved years ago.

  8. t1ller says:
    January 13, 2022 at 5:16 am
    As a life long Lions fan (its painful to say) and a huge fan of Calvin, He was in the wrong. Lions did not “owe” him. He was the top paid WR for years in the league. I do not feel sorry for him. He played in a system that fed him the ball and allowed him astronomical numbers. I hope him and Lions buried the hatchet so we can stop hearing about it.
    —————————————————————————————–
    You are spot on . The Lions made Johnson the highest paid player in the NFL , a title he had for years thanks to the Lions being overly generous .The only reason the Lions wanted him to return the 1M portion of his signing bonus was related to a salary cap issue his retirement caused they needed to resolve . They could have forced him to payback more but chose to only request the lowest amount they could to address their cap issue . Johnson should have appreciated that instead of reinventing himself as Megawhine and falsely claiming the Lions were wrong for what they did .

  9. In response to t1ller, no Calvin was not in the wrong. As a life time lions fan and for that life time the organization has been an embarrassment. They did the same thing to Barry, you don’t black ball your stars and make them pay back bonus money. Did the colts make Andrew Luck pay back his bonus-no. Barry didn’t talk to them for years because of the same issue, now pay that man the money you took from him and hopefully he wants to be part of it again.

  10. sharpdressedfan17 says:
    January 13, 2022 at 7:48 am
    Great to see Calvin Johnson back…now go mend fences with Barry Sanders.

    have you been paying attention?

  11. I’m pretty sure Dick LeBeau has a beef against the Detroit lions too,he wasn’t allowed to smoke his own brand of cigarettes on the sidelines back the ‘60s.

  12. My love hate relationship with the Detroit Lions has lasted about 40 years longer than Calvin Johnson’s and I must say the whole situation was handled terribly. Had both sides managed things in a responsible, diplomatic way, it would have never reached the public eye and we wouldn’t still be rehashing their mess. Having said that, it appears that the organization is finally going in the right direction free of obvious dysfunction. It is too soon to tell if they have gotten a lot smarter yet but it certainly seems that they are a lot less dumb.

  13. I’m not sure a singing bonus is supposed to be repaid at a straight prorated rate. It’s a bonus. The language or specific words used to contractually outline the payment would dictate. Front end loading contracts, bonus payments and voided years are all methods used to manage the CAP Space, incentivize the player to both sign & accept the terms of the contract. To best understand if the player(s) or team(s) are/is right, we need to know what the contract dictates. Until then, I’m siding with neither.

    So, I’m glad the Lions & Johnson have seemingly made up. I’m not sure who was right. I’m okay with not knowing.

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