Calvin Johnson announces he is retiring
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has decided to retire.
The team said in a statement Tuesday morning that Johnson has filed retirement papers with the NFL in advance of the new league year, which begins on Wednesday. Johnson later released a statement of his own, which you can read in its entirety below:
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement.
“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.
“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.
“With the reality of my decision, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to thank. I must start with my family – thank you for all your love and support.
“I also want to especially thank Mrs. Ford and the Ford Family for all their support over the years. They are tremendous owners and I loved playing for them. I would also like to recognize Mr. Ford, who I was honored to know and play for before he passed away.
“While it would be hard to name them all, I would also like to thank all of my teammates past and present.
“I also want to thank all of my coaches who I played for, in particular Coach Caldwell for his support, wisdom and guidance over the past two seasons. I loved playing for Coach Caldwell.
“There are so many other people I would like to recognize and thank for what they have done for me throughout my career, but rather than risk forgetting someone, I will simply say “thanks” to everyone.
“And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you. I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rod Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”
All signs throughout the offseason have pointed to Johnson retiring, as he reportedly told friends and family after the season that he is calling it a career. The 30-year-old was still playing at a very high level, having caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns last season. However, he has battled injuries in recent years and played through a lot of pain.
One of Johnson’s former teammates recently blasted the Lions for not trying convince Megatron to stay with the team. From the way it sounds, it probably wouldn’t have mattered.