Report: Lions, Calvin Johnson have not yet mended fences

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Social-media posts from Hall of Fame Lions receiver Calvin Johnson created the impression that he and the team have mended fences. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, they have not.

“For the many who asked, Calvin Johnson’s social media posts yesterday did not mean the Lions have patched things up with the Hall of Fame WR,” Birkett tweeted. “He was at Ford Field for other reasons, and has been there before (for at least 2 games I’m aware of). Perhaps one day.”

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

In September, Johnson has made it clear that the path to peace consists of the payment of $1.6 million by the Lions. That’s the amount the Lions collected from Johnson when he retired with unearned signing bonus money remaining on his contract.

The Lions offered Johnson a 28-hour-per-year job that would have paid him $1.5 million over three years, along with a $100,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. Johnson passed.

“It’s the principle,” Johnson said. “It’s the principle of it. You cannot have me back unless you put that money back in my pocket. . . . I’m not working for it.”

The Lions have yet to pay it. If they haven’t paid it by now, it’s hard to imagine that they will.

27 responses to “Report: Lions, Calvin Johnson have not yet mended fences

  1. I really don’t think that anyone really cares anymore…. The entire thing is PETTY. On both sides here…. Actually sounds like they are perfect for each other….

  2. If I recall, they legally cannot pay him without him working those minimum required hours. It falls under potentially skirting the salary cap over.

  3. I’ve been mostly annoyed by his constant whining but moving into year 2 of what should be a huge step forward for this team and franchise they need to get this thing rectified.

    You just can’t be taken seriously as an organization and have this huge ugly wart hanging out there.

    Come on Lions, show that taking care of Stafford wasn’t a fluke and you’ve changed as a professional football franchise.

  4. The best part of this whole standoff is Johnson’s stance, “its the principle of it.”

    Standard player contracts allows teams to recover a portion of the signing bonus if you retire early — which he did. While he’s miffed about principle, he wants a free gift.

    It is honorable to conduct yourself per the terms of the contract. In this case, both sides exercised their options. Stop whining about it.

  5. Two things are obvious. 1) The Lions are a badly run organization. 2) CJ is a giant baby that won’t let it go. They truly deserve each other at this point.

  6. khaled says:
    January 13, 2022 at 12:02 pm
    If I recall, they legally cannot pay him without him working those minimum required hours. It falls under potentially skirting the salary cap over.
    You are correct . Logic and honesty have been absent from Johnson’s position on this issue from the beginning .

  7. I’m going to try this line in my next review with my boss.

    “I’m not working for it”

  8. I’d like to know what precedence has been set for when a guy quits on his team before his contract ended. Both hall of famer and non hall of famer.

  9. Johnson’s making himself look petty at this point. Principle is one thing but looking classless is another.

  10. Good point about skirting the salary cap, I hadn’t even thought of that. Now if he played for the Broncos that wouldn’t be a problem.

  11. What a whiny baby. You didn’t live up to your end of the contract so no payout Calvin, sorry

  12. Lets see if I have this right. He had to pay 1.6 million back to them. Now they want to give him 1.5 million,do 28hrs of what ever,$100,000 to his favorite charity. Ummm what I’m I missing here?

  13. huge lions fan, huge CJ fan. whether or not anyone feels they should have made him repay the bonus or not, it happened. it also happened under a different regime with a different principle owner. right wrong or indifferent the lions are trying to rectify the situation.

    considering the lions can not just pay him the money due to salary cap rules without him doing something for it, I’m honestly wondering what exactly Calvin wants them to do?

    it seems that short of Shelia Ford showing up at CJ’s house with 1.5m in off the books cash that Calvin won’t be happy.

  14. Translation, I didn’t do anything to earn that $1.6M and I’m not going to do anything now. I wonder if the Lions will pay me $1.6 million just because it would be the right thing to do? I comment on Lions articles all of the time. Whether or not I’ve earned that money obviously isn’t the question.

  15. Sounds like it didn’t take all that long for reality to hit CJ hard regarding financial life outside of the NFL spotlight. I personally would have jumped at the chance to make $1.5 million over three years and only work 28 hours a week. I put in more than double those hours every week and will never get close to earning $1.5 million. The saddest part is that this is a very clear issue. CJ wasn’t cheated out of money or ripped off, he did not honor his contractual obligations that would have granted his access to that money. Pretty cut and dry honestly.

  16. Olin, are you watching and listening???….Isn’t it amazing that the teams with the least amount of Super Bowls seem to have ex-star player issues. Mmmm?

  17. “Calvin, we’d like you to come back into the fold and be rolled out as a face and reminder of this franchise’s proud history of being a perennial loser decade after decade.”

    Suddenly one and a half mil seems too light

  18. If Johnson had been smart he’d already have made back the $1.6 million plus a lot more by now. The Lions have been trying for years to give him do-nothing jobs but he keeps sabotaging things. He’s either so bitter he can’t see straight or he’s not very intelligent.

  19. createrinserepeat35……its 28 hours per YEAR ! That’s just over one hour every TWO weeks

  20. First time GM, first order of business $120 million super star retires hanging a huge dead cap figure on you as he walks out the door. What do you do?

    I didn’t like Bob Quinn, but I didn’t think he was wrong either. I would have handled it differently; “Okay, well lets get some of your cap off the books, you want to do some PR stuff for the team? It pays really well.”

  21. The precedent is Barry Sanders, who didn’t have much of a relationship with the Lions until they started winning again and showing some promise in the early 2010s. There was no reason to bring CJ around after he retired since he is simply another reminder of how good the Lions are at wasting generational talent. Now that Stafford has been gone a minute the Lions are starting to show some promise, the Lions will begin mending fences with CJ. I guarantee it. CJ is totally in the right here – there is Sooooo much money in the NFL and the Lions do themselves no favors by alienating one of the very few truly great Lions over some pocket change. CJ isn’t being greedy – he doesn’t need the money. It’s a matter of principle, but I also think this is by design as it’s following the same template the Lions used with Barry. Lots of fans were mad that Barry retired – same with Calvin. The dust is still settling and when it has CJ will be a Lion – working 28 hours a year for a lot more than $1.6M.

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