After a heart-breaking series of events, Calvin Johnson falls to the ground after watching Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers complete a 61 yard hail marry with no time remaining to beat the Detroit Lions in a game known as the “Miracle in Motown”.
During his illustrious career, Calvin Johnson has faced more devastating losses than any player should. His catch-then-ruled drop against the Chicago Bears in 2010, the no-call pass interference penalty against Dallas during the 2014 playoffs, the illegally batted ball in Seattle, and the “Miracle in Motown” against Green Bay.
Through it all, Johnson has shown an amount of resiliency that has been admired from any observer throughout his career. He has never been a big talker, while always giving credit to his teammates rather than himself.
It wasn’t until just recently, that we heard Johnson was contemplating his future as a player with a statement released by the Lions: “Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” Johnson said, “I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not too distant future.”
As a fan of this team your heart dropped, as there is a chance that the tenure of one of the greatest athletes in Detroit’s professional sports history may be over.
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I for one had a different reaction when hearing the news, and think that Johnson parting ways with Detroit could work out for both parties.
I consider Calvin Johnson as one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the National Football League, and have enjoyed watching his career immensely these past nine seasons. His unprecedented jump ball ability, combined with his size and speed, has been a spectacle to watch, especially being in Honolulu blue.
But as you grow into adulthood, you begin to gain a focus on the big picture, and Johnson simply isn’t apart of it in Detroit, and Detroit shouldn’t be apart of it for Johnson.
Let me explain.
When the Detroit Lions started cleaning house mid-season, obviously they were on the verge of a potential rebuild. Even though new general manager Bob Quinn decided to retain Jim Caldwell as the head coach of this football team, the Lions are looking to re-vamp their brand.
Quinn has seemingly taken the general manager job by the horns, and has the media and fan spectrum excited with his “get things done attitude”, a characteristic he picked up in New England. It is an attitude I have come to admire, and something I would be willing to fully invest in.
Part of that investment would be to give him an extra $11,092,000 in cap room this off-season, which is where Johnson comes in. Johnson is set to register a cap hit of $24,008,000 next season, while his $113,450,000 contract is worth $42,200,000 more than Julio Jones’, who is the second highest paid receiver in the league. Cutting Johnson would result in the Lions paying him $12,916,000 next season in dead money, but would free up that $11,092,00 to invest in other areas of the team.
Unfortunately it is time to cut ties with Calvin Johnson if he does decide to return to professional football.
Which would work in his favor as well.
Through the years Johnson has given Detroit sports fans many moments to look back and reminisce on. Mike Tirico shouting “Megatron into the record books!” as he became the all-time leader in receiving yards for a single season will be something I look back and smile about as long as I am watching and covering this game.
Growing up through the Marty Mornhinweg and Steve Mariucci era, Johnson gave me a sense of hope and belief that this franchise would turn around. The Lions enjoyed their first 10 win season since 1995, their first 11 win season since 1991, and Johnson accumulated 1,312 receptions, 11,619 receiving yards, and 83 touchdowns during that nine year span.
There is nothing I would like to see more, than for him to go win a ring.
An opportunity he deserves through the rugged grind he has endured through the first nine seasons of his career, Johnson going to a team capable of making a Super Bowl push would be the ideal end to his prolific career.
As sports fans and media members, we are selfish to think that athletes owe us anything to stay in a city throughout their entire career. We praise and then soon forget about the ones who do decide to stay, while criticizing the ones who leave.
Johnson leaving Detroit is bigger than any one of us as Detroit sports fans, and a chance for him to go win a championship would be a spectacle to behold for the NFL and its fans in being able to watch one of the greatest talents of all-time in a championship atmosphere.