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Former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was honored for his recent Hall of Fame induction at halftime of Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Ravens.
Fans were excited to see the Lions’ all-time leading receiver back at Ford Field. They were not, however, looking forward to hearing from owner Sheila Ford Hamp. Ford Hamp, 70, could hardly get many words out before a raucous Detroit crowd booed her off the podium.
The organization has not been on good terms with Johnson, who was forced to give back $1.6 million of his signing bonus money when he retired in 2016. It’s the same treatment that Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders received when he retired from the team in 1999. Since then, Johnson has refused to do much for the team, even in an ambassadorial role.
While he accepted the honor on Sunday, Johnson notably did not mention the Lions during his speech.
“It’s an honor to represent excellence and everything the Hall of Fame stands for,” Johnson said. “It’s an honor to represent Detroit. I love you guys. It’s an honor to represent the NFL and the Johnson name on my back. I love you guys, I love the energy y’all brought every Sunday. I miss you guys, and I look forward to many great days in the future here in Detroit.”
This is typical Lions, a franchise that continues to get in its own way. Despite having Sanders and Johnson, two all-time talents, in the past 30 years, the Lions have just one playoff win in that time, a 1991 victory against the Cowboys.
At his request, they also moved on from quarterback Matthew Stafford during the offseason, replacing him with Jared Goff. Stafford has guided the Rams to a 3-0 start on the season, while the Lions are 0-3 and in last place in the NFC North.
Against the Ravens, let’s just say the football gods reared their ugly heads yet again on Detroit. A 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker — an NFL record — took down the Lions, a devastating loss for a team that’s had way too many of them.