Calvin Johnson is arguably one of the greatest wide receivers to play in the NFL. He’s definitely in the conversation for one of the greatest Detroit Lions players, next to Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. So when “Megatron” speaks, Detroit sports fans will listen.
Well, Calvin, you have our undivided attention.
In an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg, the former All-Pro wideout opened up about his grievances with his former team, his new cannabis company with former teammate Rob Sims, and even “dished out some tea” on the infamous 0-16 season.
$1.6 Million Reasons
When Johnson retired in March 2016, the Detroit Lions requested that he repay approximately $1.6 million of his prorated signing bonus. In his interview with Rosenberg, Johnson stated that returning the money was no big deal for him but went on to say “…at the end of the day, you don’t do that to your best players.”
And Johnson is one of their best players. In his tenure with the Lions, he was a four-time All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. Additionally, he led the league in receiving yards two consecutive seasons (2011,2012). He also led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2008. Johnson retired with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards, and 83 receiving touchdowns. So when Johnson says that he is one of the Lions best players, the numbers prove that and then some.
Opioid vs. Cannabis usage
Marijuana is a banned substance by the NFL. However, according to Johnson, Vicodin, Percocet, and a bevy of pain killers were available to obtain at any moment. Johnson stated that his preferred choice of medication was marijuana anyway. Johnson, who suffered several concussions in his career, told Rosenberg that he was concussed to the point that be got used to them. One damning quote from the exclusive was in regard to his concussions from the 2012 season. The Lions organization had an issue with his comments regarding the situation. The portion of the article reads:
“In 2012 he told reporters he suffered one against the Vikings. The Lions said (and maintain) that he passed their concussion protocol, and Johnson later apologized: “I misused the terms nerve damage and concussion.” But he says now, “I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story.”
The Lions have since released a statement that reads:
“We respect the privacy of individual players’ medical situations and take great pride in the extensive work done by our medical staff and executive team to ensure we follow appropriate protocols with respect to player health and safety,” the Lions said in a written statement. “The well-being of our players will continue to be an organizational priority.”
The full story with Johnson and Rosenberg can be viewed on Sport’s IIllustrated’s website and will be in the September 23rd, 2019 version of the magazine.