Calvin Johnson, Lions moving toward reconciliation
Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions have not been on good terms since the wide receiver retired nearly five years ago, but it sounds like they have finally begun the process of clearing the air.
Johnson told Justin Rogers of the Detroit News on Sunday that he has had recent conversations with Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp, and the two sides are moving toward reconciling.
Johnson was officially announced on Saturday night as one of eight members of the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. Burying the hatchet with the Lions prior to his enshrinement this summer would be a nice step for both sides.
The Lions forced Johnson to pay back a portion of his signing bonus after he retired following the 2015 season, and that soured the relationship between the star receiver and the team. While the exact amount that Johnson paid back has not been disclosed, it is believed to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million. Johnson had signed an eight-year contract with Detroit in 2012.
Johnson said in 2019 that he would only reconcile with the Lions “when they put that money back in my pocket.”
More recently, Johnson said publicly that the Lions once forced him to cover up a concussion he suffered.
It has long been expected that Johnson and the Lions would reconcile someday, similar to how Brett Favre did with the Green Bay Packers. That now seems likely to happen before Johnson is enshrined in Canton.