Since January, there has been talk that Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was planning on retiring before the end of the year. This week, the football star, known as “Megatron,” confirmed those rumors by officially announcing his retirement from the NFL.
According to the official Detroit Lions website, the team informed the public on Tuesday that Calvin Johnson would be departing from professional sports at the age of 30. He won’t be playing any last-hurrah games or retiring at the end of the next season. Calvin Johnson is out of football forever, “effective immediately.”
“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football,” Calvin Johnson said in a statement.
Many Lions fans may be disappointed to learn their star player won’t be coming back, and Calvin Johnson admitted it wasn’t an easy decision. The team has been his home for nine straight seasons of football.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it. I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game.”
Despite the disappointment many may feel, Calvin Johnson’s decision to retire may have come as a relief to the Detroit Lions. According to NFL.com, before this week, there was a heated discussion as to whether Calvin Johnson should retire for the sake of the team. The player had hit a cap of $24 million expected for a season, meaning the Lions may have had to cut him from the team simply for financial reasons. But it seems Johnson made the decision easier on them.
However, the retirement was less about the money and the team and more about the increasing risk of personal injury. Calvin Johnson had sustained a multitude of injuries over the past five seasons, and wasn’t getting any younger.
But during his career, Calvin Johnson established himself as one of the best wide receivers in history, acquiring a reputation for both immense size and uncanny speed since he got noticed at Georgia Tech. According to SB Nation, Calvin Johnson made a stunning 4.35 40 time at the NFL Combine while wearing somebody else’s cleats. He amassed a total of 83 touchdowns, 731 catches, and 11,619 receiving yards.
While the Detroit Lions only made the playoffs twice with Calvin Johnson on the team, the wide receiver was the second pick in the 2007 NFL draft and set a single-season record in 2012 for 1,964 receiving yards.
In addition to Calvin Johnson’s legacy within the game of football, the Detroit Lions will also miss “Megatron” for being an upstanding symbol for the team. Lions owner Martha Firestone also released a statement about the retirement of Calvin Johnson, and had nothing but nice things to say.
“I want to thank Calvin for being not only a great player for the Lions but for also being the absolute best representative our team, franchise and community could ever ask for. He was the epitome of dignity, class, humility and excellence. Calvin was exemplary on and off the field and will always be a part of our family and our team.”
Do you think it’s a good thing that Calvin Johnson retired from the Lions?
[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]