5 Reasons Why Calvin Johnson May Not Be Done Yet
Calvin Johnson made it official on Tuesday morning. With just one day to go before free agency began, the star wide receiver filed his retirement papers, effectively ending his time with the Detroit Lions.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 8, 2016
There had been much speculation as to why the man dubbed “Megatron” would be calling it quits, or if he was actually going to retire. Detroit’s constant losing and numerous injuries piling up certainly contributed, but a direct reason for Johnson’s retirement remains unclear despite the former Lions star releasing an official statement.
While Johnson is now officially retired, he’s still relatively young and there remains a large window for him to return to the Lions (or somewhere else in the league) as early as this coming season.
Let’s take a look at five good reasons why we may not have seen the last of Megatron:
Hall of Fame Credentials
Many deem Calvin Johnson a lock for the Hall of Fame no matter what, but he clearly won’t have the longevity, numbers or playoff success of a lot of greats ahead of him if this really is the end of the line.
Johnson was great from a physical and statistical perspective, but he never was big enough of a difference-maker to guide the Lions to even one playoff win. Instead, Johnson’s final year has him bowing out with the Lions failing to make the playoffs. He might end up being more known for being a member of the league’s only 0-16 team that he will be known for his playoff trips.
Post-season success aside, Johnson retires at just 30 and there is still a lot of work that could be done. He’ll likely still get his name called to Canton eventually, but due to his special circumstances, he may have to wait a while.
The Record Book
While the Hall of Fame could call for a return, Johnson could also one day be tempted to return to add to his awesome numbers. He’s already in the books with the most receiving yards in a season (1,964 in 2012), but he’s topped 100 catches in a year just once and has never scored more than 16 touchdowns in a season.
For his career Johnson has very good numbers, but they don’t touch what legends like Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison put up.
Johnson could move up significantly in career receptions (currently 43rd), career receiving yardage (27th) and career touchdowns (22nd).
Megatron could arguably put up strong to elite numbers for another 3-4 seasons before real signs of decline showed, and by then he’d easily approach the top-15 in receptions, top-5 for yardage and probably sixth place in touchdowns.
Should Johnson play even longer (past 35) he could seriously threaten for the #2 spot in all three areas.
The Lions never did anything of merit during Johnson’s tenure, so regardless of whatever reasons he had that led to a hasty retirement, it’s possible Johnson digs deep sometime in the near future and returns to help Detroit go deep into the playoffs.
Johnson can’t love the idea of a legacy that didn’t include much winning and as flawed as the Lions are in spots, they still have a good core of players on both sides of the ball. Megatron has begun a slow regression, but when healthy he can still change a game. If he acknowledges that and wants to see the Lions succeed, he could come back.
That Elusive Ring
Perhaps Megatron is working his way out of Detroit and will pull a Brett Favre and try to return with a new team in 2016 or beyond. He’s only 30 years old, so we really can’t rule out a litany of possibilities, while the temptation of latching on with a team with a stud quarterback like the Patriots, Packers, Steelers or Saints would be obvious.
No one knows how badly Johnson wants a ring or how far he’d go to compete for it, but going out with a Super Bowl win would certainly have to be appealing.
The game of football in general can be tough to leave, so for one reason or another, it’s quite likely Megatron will at least consider a return to the gridiron before his retirement sticks for good.
He knows he can still play and if suddenly healthy and feeling fresh, it remains possible that Johnson could return just for the love of the game and competition. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the Lions or someone else. If Johnson realizes he misses the sport and the unity on a football team, he could ditch his retirement plans and return to the league.
Think Calvin Johnson’s retirement sticks? Let us know in the comments below!
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