By Will Burchfield
Lions fans can stop wondering if Calvin Johnson might put the pads back on. The potential Hall-of-Famer made it very clear on Tuesday that he has no intention of coming out of retirement and rejoin his former team.
“I’m not coming back, man,” Johnson told Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “Look, man. I got stuff that’s going to hurt for the rest of my life. I got a finger that’s literally bone-on-bone. This bad boy, it gets smaller. The more and more I do, it grinds bone-on-bone.
“Literally from last year, I went this year to get another X-Ray and this is after I retired, I knew it was messed up but I didn’t know to what degree because it was hurt.”
Johnson retired after the 2015 season at the age of 30 out of concern for his long-term health. In July, he talked about how difficult life had become for him due to his aching body.
“When you wake up in the morning, you can’t walk, you’re shuffling across the floor,” he told ESPN in an E:60 interview. “I gotta go through a little routine when I wake up in the morning just to get everything functioning and ready to go. But the only thing is, everything just goes back to gridlock so fast once you sit down.”
So far, it sounds like retirement has been treating Johnson well.
“The only thing I miss, but I still get it because I get to hang out with the guys, is the camaraderie,” he said. “The guys that I really hung out with, Dom [Raiola], Rob [Sims], Matthew [Stafford], the guys I played with for most of my career, five, six years each, I still hang out with those guys, so it’s not that bad.
“The thing I don’t miss is waking up in the morning, hurting, the grind of the game. I got chronic stuff that everybody has when they’re done playing football for any length of time. So the good thing is I’m able to walk. I feel good. I’m able to spend more time with the fam. I’m able to chill. I don’t have to go out and run three miles every day in practice, you know what I’m saying. Goodness gracious.”
Johnson said another factor in his decision to retire was the Lions’ lack of competitiveness. In nine seasons in Detroit, he played in just two playoff games and lost both times. The team’s success this year led some to believe Johnson might consider a return.
As he clarified on Tuesday, that simply isn’t the case.