Calvin Johnson Talks About Breaking Jerry Rice’s Record
By: Mike Feld
It’s fitting that Calvin Johnson received a handful of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gifts on Christmas, because it appears as if Megatron has found the secret of the ooze.
Johnson joined Bill for his weekly chat and revealed that the highlight of his holiday was receiving a ton of TMNT items, from action figures, clothes and even a Snuggie.
But while the gifts were nice, the true present arrived at Ford Field on Saturday night. Johnson temporarily masked the stench of a foul smelling Lions season after he broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards mark.
No. 81 had trouble describing what that moment was like.
“I guess you could closely relate it to that feeling when you your hairs raise on your back and your arm,” he said. “It’s chilling just to have the whole crowd go crazy like that over an accomplishment that you’ve put a lot of hard work into.”
And Johnson reminded Bill that it was just that – an accomplishment. When asked if the feat was tarnished by what many critics – namely ESPN analyst Jon Gruden – have called “meaningless yards,” the Lions wide out didn’t have much to say.
“I don’t know what that is,” he said. “I don’t know what those are. You’ll have to defy what meaningless yards are for me to even respond to that.
“It’s a lot of work; a lot of sweat; a lot of pain that went into it. You can’t take that away.”
Unfortunately, no one can take away another dismal Lions season during Johnson’s tenure in Detroit. Megatron stopped short of saying this was his worst year with the Honolulu Blue and Silver, but he had to admit was up there.
“You can’t go any lower than the ’08 year,” Johnson said. “As high as we’ve held ourselves, to come out like we did … we didn’t get the job done. It was a little here and there, one play here and there in the game. For at least seven or eight of those games, we were just right there. That’s what hurt so bad.”
The Lions do have one chance to make good and end the current seven-game losing streak. That chance will come this Sunday at home against rival Chicago, which faces playoff elimination if it can’t take down the Lions.
As if that’s not enough, Johnson will almost surely add on to his record of 1,892 yards and could be the first receiver to break 2,000 yards in a single campaign.
To do so, however, he’ll have to outmatch Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, arguably one of the best in the game. While breaking the 2K pleateau won’t be easy, Johnson will stick to the same thing that got him the first 1,892 yards.
“You’ve just got to go with the game plan,” Johnson said. “That’s all we do. Play it to the best of my ability and take advantage of every opportunity you are given. That’s how I view things; that’s how I’ve gone about my season; that’s how I’ve gone about my work.