By Dan Leach
Follow Dan on twitter @dtmleach

While it was not a huge surprise to hear the ESPN report come out on Sunday — a week before Super Bowl 50 — that one of the greatest wide receivers of all time told Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell the day after this season ended for Detroit that he had decided to hang it up before his 31st birthday, it still is a shock.

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Calvin Johnson has played his last game in the NFL, according to sources.

Megatron is simply one of the greatest to ever lace them up, and holds the Lions’ all-time franchise record for receiving yards and touchdowns, as well as several NFL records. Johnson, always larger than life, gave maximum effort on every single snap, every single down, even with his body deteriorating rapidly in recent years.

The stark reality is he will leave the game of football with zero playoff wins and only two playoff appearances. It is just too eerily similar to another of the greatest to ever play, also a Lion, Barry Sanders. He left the game well before his time, and left with a grand total of one playoff win.

Now the question must be asked if it becomes 100 percent official and Calvin walks away at 30 years old — Did the Lions waste the careers of two of the greatest to ever play the game of football?

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You can never take away all the phenomenal accomplishments on the field that both Sanders and Johnson have attained, but, at the end of the day, it’s all about contending for and winning championships.

The Lions have never even sniffed at a championship in the last 50 plus years, save the 1991 NFC title game drubbing at the hands of Washington. Yes, Dan Marino is still one of the best to ever play quarterback and he never won a title, but even he played in a Super Bowl.

Did the franchise’s ineptitude and inability to put a contending team on the field during the majority of Calvin and Barry’s careers, feed into both of their decisions to hang it up well before their time?

It is a sad and frustrating thought at the same time — I imagine it will always be in minds of loyal and passionate fans of the Lions.

It will be a question debated for years to come and sadly is one that will only be able to be answered with conjecture, as now possibly Megatron , much like Sanders, will no longer allow the debate to be on the field of play.

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