By Terry Foster
Nate Burleson heard the reports of Calvin Johnson retiring. He knows it is a possibility but he did not send out tweets of congratulations to his friend.READ MORE: 'I Can't Believe It's Been Three Years:' Community Prepares To Remember, Reflect On Tree Of Life Shooting
That leads me to believe that the Calvin Johnson saga is not over. I still believe there is a flicker of hope that he plays one more season with the Lions.
There is something going on that I can’t quite put my hands around.
I believe there is calculation to the ESPN report that Johnson told head coach Jim Caldwell that 2015 is his final season. He told teammates. He told former teammates and then he told family. This happened months ago, so why is it being leaked again now?
Here is what I am hearing. Teammates are putting pressure on Johnson to return. They want him back because he is a key piece to the team. And they believe they can make a playoff run next season if Johnson returns and Quinn makes the right moves in free agency and the draft. The Lions believe they can win now and the want Johnson to give it the old college try one more time.
Now what happened after the ESPN report that Johnson told the Lions that he is out?
A close friend of Johnson tells The Detroit News and Free Press that new General Manager Bob Quinn is wrong for not reaching out to Calvin and not telling CJ how much he means to the organization. Johnson also did not want to make an official decision until after the Lions hired a GM. Why?
Did he want to see the Lions new game plan?
Did he want to see if the Lions would cut him some slack financially and not want him to renegotiate a contract?
If Johnson’s impending retirement is just about pain and suffering what is he waiting for? There is a report that Johnson reached out to the Ford family to thank them for supporting him as a Lion. That sounded like the official so long.READ MORE: Judge Clears Path For Recall Campaign Over COVID-19 Bonuses In Shiawassee County
However, I believe a formal sit down with Johnson’s people and the Lions will happen before he retires. Owner Martha Ford wants him to return and might be willing to make things more comfortable for Johnson.
But if Quinn does not reach out to Johnson that could be a sign that he does not want him back.
Or maybe his mind is made up and CJ is waiting for the conclusion of Super Bowl to make his announcement. The NFL does not like breaking news the week of the Super Bowl. And many of the public relations people that would set up a press conference are in the Bay area. It is unlikely he’d make an announcement this week.
Burleson told The News that it is “ridiculous” that Quinn has not reached out to Johnson.
“Is anybody (telling him how important he is to the franchise)?” Burleson told the Free Press. “I know the city is. I know there’s an out pour, I know you guys are and I know teammates. We’re not the ones that are up there in the front office with the suits on. Calvin knows how we feel about them. I think there needs to be somebody that’s making decisions to actively tell him and actively tell him over and over and remind him why it’s important to come put a Detroit Lions jersey on.”
Burleson told The News that he talked to Johnson. And let me issue a warning. They are good friends. Maybe Johnson wants a certain message put out in public. It does not mean it is what he believes.
“I was just like, ‘Look man, before I send out this post, I don’t want to be premature when you come around suiting up come summer camp (and) now my emotional message falls through the crack,’” Burleson told The News. “He kind of laughed and was like, ‘Nah, it’s all good. We’ll talk a little bit later.’”
If this were an actual conversation why didn’t Johnson say he is done as he told Matthew Stafford and Stephen Tulloch last year?
This is not over. There is more thrills and spills during this Mega-tron saga which is now officially a courtship from the Lions to stay.MORE NEWS: MDOT: Portion Of Westbound I-94 In Detroit To Close This Weekend For Overpass Replacement
(Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@cbsradio.com)