Calvin Johnson won’t be thanking the Lions in Hall of Fame speech
Calvin Johnson has feuded with the Detroit Lions ever since his retirement. That won’t change with his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.
On Friday, Johnson suggested he wouldn’t be thanking the only franchise he ever played for during his induction speech, nor was he particularly interested in speaking to certain members of the front office that may be in attendance.
“I’m definitely going to bring up a lot of people that I’m thankful for,” Johnson said, via Clark Judge of FanNation. “There are so many people during my career that had an impact and those specific people I’m going to try (thank) … at least I have them on the ticker. But I’m not going to mention everybody. As far as the Lions, hey, I got nothing to say.”
Johnson acknowledged that he might run into some with the organization that he blames for the ongoing issues, including team president Rod Wood. If he does, he’s not planning to engage them.
“I’m sure I’m going to run into him,” Johnson said of Wood. “But you know me: I keep it short. I keep it moving. I go about my business.
“Put it like this: I’m not going to be seeing my family a whole lot during this whole weekend, so I’m going to be looking forward to seeing them whenever I get a chance to. So If I pass Rod Wood, I’m going to keep moving.”
It’s worth noting that Johnson is taking a similar approach to another Lions legend. Barry Sanders didn’t thank the team itself when he was inducted in 2004, instead sticking to paying tribute to his teammates, the fans, and the city itself. Sanders and the Lions ultimately reconciled, and Sanders is now an ambassador for the organization.
As for Johnson, that reconciliation sounds far off. It stems from the team’s refusal to return part of his signing bonus when he retired at 30, as well as the Lions’ unwillingness to relinquish his rights so he could play for another team. Earlier this year, Johnson openly said he wished the Lions had been willing to trade him in recognition to his service to the team. There have been hints from the franchise that they want to move toward a reconciliation, but Johnson seems to be making clear that it’s not happening right now.