DETROIT, MI—One day after one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks announced his retirement to the world, one of the game’s premier wide receivers followed suit. After nine professional seasons in the NFL, Lion’s wide-out Calvin Johnson is calling it a career.
During his nine seasons, Johnson accrued over 11,000 receiving yards, placing him 27th overall among receivers. He had seven 1,000-yard seasons, including the most receiving yards in a season with 1,964 in 2012.
Johnson, or as the nation knows him “Megatron,” holds nearly every significant franchise record for the Lions, and holds 15 NFL records. He has received six Pro Bowl invitations.
Megatron has never been one for wanting to be the center of attention, and that held true with his decision to retire. In a statement released by the Lions, Johnson decided not to have a press conference to announce his retirement.
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement. After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football. Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.
I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game. With the reality of my decision, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to thank. I must start with my family — thank you for all your love and support. I also want to especially thank Mrs. Ford and the Ford Family for all their support over the years. They are tremendous owners and I loved playing for them. I would also like to recognize Mr. Ford, who I was honored to know and play for before he passed away.
While it would be hard to name them all, I would also like to thank all of my teammates past and present. I also want to thank all of my coaches who I played for, in particular Coach Caldwell for his support, wisdom and guidance over the past two seasons. I loved playing for Coach Caldwell. There are so many other people I would like to recognize and thank for what they have done for me throughout my career, but rather than risk forgetting someone, I will simply say ‘thanks’ to everyone.
And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you. I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rob Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”
The Lions announced Tuesday that Johnson filed his retirement papers with the NFL prior to the start of the new league year on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Johnson was the Number 2 overall pick of the Lions in 2007. He maintained elite play throughout his nine seasons with the Lions, even though the team went through seven losing seasons.
Calvin Johnson made the Lions relevant in the realm of the NFL and the city will surely miss his services on and off the field.
Friend and teammate, Matthew Stafford said of Johnson in a statement, “It was such an honor to play the game with one of the best of all time. I will cherish the lessons I’ve learned from him and the friendship we have forged over the past seven years. He is truly one-of-a-kind in his humility and grace both on and off the field. We have all learned from Calvin with how he treated his family, his work and his friends.”