In 2012, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson finished the season with 1,964 receiving yards; the first ever at his position to eclipse 1,900+ yards and 36 away from crossing the untouched 2,000-yard milestone.
Though Johnson’s career is remembered for its stretch of dominance from 2007-2015 and feared as a lengthy, strong receiver with speed, the general audience tends to agree that Megatron’s real trajectory was stunted by his willingness to stay with the Lions.
According to reports, Johnson admitted that he, in fact, wanted out of downtrodden Detroit via trade as the primary option, before resorting to retirement in 2015.
Johnson recounts discussions with the Lions toward the end of his career, as both sides weighed their options with a growingly disinterested Johnson playing for a team holding him captive. “We asked would they release me or let me go to another team. They wouldn’t.”
Noting one specific team that he would’ve ideally preferred joining, Megatron recounted watching Aaron Rodgers throw to receivers such as Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, wondering how his production would improve with an MVP-level QB.
“Whenever we played Green Bay, whenever Aaron Rodgers was over on our sideline he would say, ‘Hey man, you need to come on over here.’ And I said, ‘I wish I could,’” mentioned Johnson, a former 6x Pro Bowl WR in his career.
Also wanting out at the time, per Johnson’s comment, was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who eventually saw his request fulfilled with a trade to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year.
“You know what, it sucked that they didn’t let me go, but they let Matthew go, but hey, you know, it is what it is,” said Megatron.
The Lions are now looking to new head coach Dan Campbell, whose career record as a coach stands at 5-7, and Jared Goff at quarterback, to pick up the pieces from a blockbuster trade and firing of former head coach Matt Patricia.