Calvin Johnson was one of game’s greatest receivers, but the Lions failed to surround him with a winning team. Megatron exposed his deep seated anger towards Detroit.
In his 9 year career, Johnson was always a top one or two receiver in the league. Nobody could stop him in his prime, he was the definition of a matchup nightmare. However, he never played with elite talent around him, and that cost him a chance at a Super Bowl win.
Detroit only made the postseason twice during Johnson’s career, once in 2011 and once in 2014. Both times they lost in the Wild Card round. Between those seasons and all the other ones during Megatron’s prime, there was a lot of losing and a lot of disappointment.
It definitely upset Johnson because he knew how good he was and how much he deserved to win. After all, he didn’t set the single season receiving record (1,964) on accident.
Calvin Johnson’s stats from week 7 to week 12 in 2013…
• 6 games
• 48 receptions
• 962 receiving yards
• 160.3 YPG, 20.0 YPR
• 8 touchdowns pic.twitter.com/a7HJtKMC9X
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) June 18, 2021
Calvin Johnson Wanted To Leave The Detroit Lions, But They “Wouldn’t Let [Him]”, Happy To See Matthew Stafford In Los Angeles
Obviously a player of Johnson’s caliber wouldn’t be happy with the consistent losing. That unhappiness meant that Johnson often wanted to leave the Detroit Lions.
However, Megatron exposed that Detroit wouldn’t let him leave. Johnson told WoodwardSports.com that:
“We asked would they release me or let me go to another team”
Johnson’s quarterback for the majority was Matthew Stafford, another great talent that the Lions wasted. This offseason, Stafford finally got his wish and was able to leave Detroit via a trade to the Los Angeles Rams.
Johnson was incredibly happy for his teammate, but he did have some bitterness at the fact that Detroit never respected his desire to leave the team like they did with Stafford.
“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”
Johnson retired in 2015, but by doing so, he ended up shooting himself in the foot. If Johnson had retired in 2016, just a year later, the Lions would have to deal with his $24 million cap hit. This fact was something Johnson’s agent could have used to their advantage by leveraging the Lions to cut him or trade him away.
Instead, since Stafford retired early, he ended up having to pay the Lions back. This is something that has strained his relationship with the organization currently as he believes the Lions manipulated him into this scenario and took full advantage of the situation instead of respecting and honoring the work Megatron put in for them.
Detroit’s best receiver is by and far Calvin Johnson and you would think they would at least honor him by not making him pay them. However, that was not the case at all. Johnson still has bitterness over that:
“I’m not back in the family with Lions or anything like that. It would be nice to if they try to resolve things, but that’s neither here nor there.”