Calvin Johnson, Lions Finally Appear To Be Mending Fences After Unceremonious Breakup in 2015

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When Calvin Johnson abruptly retired from football in 2016, the Detroit Lions were mad. Really mad. In fact, they forced him to repay some of signing bonus.

That, of course, made Johnson mad. Sure, he didn’t play out his contract. But he also delivered a Hall of Fame career for the team over nine seasons.

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions is honored with a Hall of Fame ring during a ceremony at halftime at Ford Field.
Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions is honored with a Hall of Fame ring during a ceremony at halftime at Ford Field. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Johnson amassed over 11,000 yards receiving and scored 84 touchdowns for the team from 2007-2015. Despite the receiver’s production, though, the Lions won zero playoff games over that period.

The Lions went 54-90 over those nine years, including an 0-16 record in 2008. In fact, Detroit won just eight games over three seasons from 2008-2010.

Since retiring, Johnson has largely stayed away from the team. That’s bad news for the Lions, too, since Johnson is beloved by Detroit fans.

When the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted Calvin Johnson, he thanked the fans and the city. He did not thank the team.

When the Lions welcomed him back to celebrate that accomplishment, the fans showered the team owner in boos.

Calvin Johnson, Lions finally seem to be putting past behind them

Calvin Johnson recently spoke with Jim Rome and said the relationship is beginning to improve and Johnson will spend more time as an ambassador for the team.

“I think we’re having some good conversation,” Johnson said of himself and the Lions organization. “I’ll be able to get back around football and be able to help out the team, not that they need my help, but I have a lot of experience to share with those guys.”

It’s good for everyone that Calvin Johnson will be back around the NFL. He was a truly special football player who left the game too soon.

Welcome back, Calvin.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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