Calvin Johnson Keeps Reminding The Lions That They Owe Him Money

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If Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson seems cold toward his former team, the Detroit Lions, it’s because he is: Johnson alleges that the team owes him a frosty $1.6 million.

“I’m not gonna close a chapter, but I’m not gonna bend over backwards to try and do anything, because I didn’t do anything. I did my job,” Johnson said. “I’m not saying they gotta repay me the $1.6 (million) all up front, but they need to figure out a way to do it and not have me work for it. Because I already did the work for it.”

Johnson was apparently forced to repay the money, which was part of his signing bonus, when he retired in 2016. Johnson’s retirement after just nine seasons in the league sent shockwaves through the NFL, especially given his durability (he started all 16 games in ’15) and playmaking (88 receptions for 1,214 yards in ’15). Johnson said in his Hall of Fame speech that he retired early in order to preserve his long-term health.

The Lions allegedly offered Johnson a deal in which he would earn $500,000 annually for three years of appearances, with the last $100,000 given as a charity donation. Johnson did not take the offer, and the issue goes unresolved five years later.

Written by TK Sanders


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  1. The Detroit Lions are just a terrible franchise. Just like Democrats, everything turns to shit because all they care about are themselves and are incompetent. Nice work Lions, two of your best players retired early rather than play for you. And you just traded your best player at the most important position because he was probably about to do the same thing. Just awful.

  2. They are a horrible franchise. However this story lacks context. He didn’t play out his contract and owed them a pro-rated portion of the signing bonus back. Really a simple math equation. He needs to quit his whining. BTW, they had a similar record and Stafford had even better stats after this guy retired so he isn’t much of a difference maker.

    • Bingo! You said it exactly right. I followed the Lions for years, they are no prize, but if you quit early, you sure don’t deserve the extra money. Does anybody else get to keep getting paid for quitting their job early? Even in retirement, you don’t get to keep a full paycheck.

  3. So they’re conceding they DO owe him money if they offered him 500k annually to do appearances and 100k to a charity. They’re just bitter. A contract is a contract, did you agree to pay it or not? Period. What’s ironic is these teams are the first ones to pull out the contract technicalities if a player gets released or owes THEM signing bonus money back, but when the tables are turned they get alligator arms reaching for that wallet.

    • They are not admitting they owe him money, they are saying that if you really want your money then work for it, like you agreed to in the first place. Had he been injured, that would be different, he just quit! So he doesn’t deserve the money! The Lions are actually being nice by letting him get 1.6 million for just a few “appearances”.

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