Nate Burleson rips Lions GM for not trying to convince Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson appears close to announcing his retirement from the NFL, and one of his former teammates is appalled that the Detroit Lions are not trying harder to convince Megatron to change his mind.
Nate Burleson, who became close with Johnson during their four seasons together in Detroit, said Monday that he can’t believe Lions general manager Bob Quinn hasn’t had a conversation with Johnson.
“That’s ridiculous,” Burleson said, per Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. “Like you’re casually going about enticing one of the best receivers in my era to come back and then you’re casual about showing your appreciation for a guy who was literally and figuratively put the organization on his back without complaint.”
Johnson has had trouble staying healthy and is said to have played through a great deal of pain last season. That is one of the reasons he has dealt with a lot of questions about his $24 million salary cap hit for 2016. Burleson believes the Lions should be brushing that to the side for now.
“Is anybody (telling him how important he is to the franchise)?” he asked. “I know the city is. I know there’s an outpour, I know you guys are and I know teammates. We’re not the ones that are up there in the front office with the suits on. Calvin knows how we feel about them. I think there needs to be somebody that’s making decisions to actively tell him and actively tell him over and over and remind him why it’s important to come put a Detroit Lions jersey on.”
Johnson has reportedly informed his close friends and a few teammates that he is planning to retire. Jim Caldwell asked him to take some time to reconsider, and Megatron is doing that out of respect for the head coach.
There was some speculation that the Lions could try to lure Johnson back with this customized practice schedule, but Burleson is clearly convinced the team hasn’t made any offers like that. Simply put, he does not think the Lions should be using the old cliche that “football is a business.”