ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - The Detroit Lions' announced Tuesday that after nine years in Detroit, the 30-year old, six-time Pro Bowler has decided to retire.
Here is the Lions press release.
STATEMENT FROM CALVIN JOHNSON IN PRESS RELEASE
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement.
“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.
“I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game.
“With the reality of my decision, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to thank. I must start with my family - thank you for all your love and support.
“I also want to especially thank Mrs. Ford and the Ford Family for all their support over the years. They are tremendous owners and I loved playing for them. I would also like to recognize Mr. Ford, who I was honored to know and play for before he passed away.
“While it would be hard to name them all, I would also like to thank all of my teammates past and present.
“I also want to thank all of my coaches who I played for, in particular Coach Caldwell for his support, wisdom and guidance over the past two seasons. I loved playing for Coach Caldwell.
“There are so many other people I would like to recognize and thank for what they have done for me throughout my career, but rather than risk forgetting someone, I will simply say “thanks” to everyone.
“And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you. I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rod Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”
STATEMENT FROM OWNER AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD MARTHA FIRESTONE FORD IN PRESS RELEASE
“On behalf on my entire family I want to thank Calvin for being not only a great player for the Lions, but for also being the absolute best representative our team, franchise and community could ever ask for. He was the epitome of dignity, class, humility and excellence. Calvin was exemplary on and off the field and will always be a part of our family and our team. I wish Calvin the very best in all his future endeavors, especially he and Brittney’s upcoming wedding, and I am confident Calvin will be just as successful in the next chapter of his life as he was playing for the Lions.”
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT ROD WOOD IN PRESS RELEASE
“Prior to assuming my current role with the team, like most Lions fans, I was a huge Calvin Johnson fan. The past few months have afforded me the privilege and honor to get to know Calvin in a much different way and I can confirm what those close to him have said many times- as great a player as Calvin is, he is a better person. I sincerely appreciate his professionalism in dealing with what undoubtedly was one of the most important decisions he’ll ever make. Our dealings over the past few months were consistently professional and respectful and we thank him for that. We also appreciate that he made his decision prior to the start of the new League year, the timing of which obviously helps us in our planning and approach to free agency and the draft.”
STATEMENT FROM EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BOB QUINN IN PRESS RELEASE
“For the past nine seasons I knew Calvin like the rest of the NFL - as one of the most dominant players of his generation. Not only was he a great player, but he also set a standard of professionalism that everyone in the NFL respected and greatly appreciated. Over the past couple months I was fortunate to get to know him as a person and became even more impressed. While we all are saddened that his playing career is ending, we should cherish what he did on the football field, knowing he was a generational talent that rarely comes along.
“A harsh reality of our business is that great players like Calvin Johnson do retire and we all understand that no one player could ever replace Calvin. But rather than dwell on that reality, we should, instead, truly appreciate what a remarkable talent we have had the privilege of watching.”
STATEMENT FROM HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL IN PRESS RELEASE
“I’ve had the good fortune during my career to coach and be around some of the greatest players to ever play this game. And although I’ve only been with Calvin for two years, I can tell you that not only is he as good as any player I’ve ever seen, but I am convinced that God has not put a finer person on this earth than Calvin Johnson.
“He truly is one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met and I have as much respect for him as anyone I know. Calvin’s character, integrity, selflessness and humility are unmatched. His exemplary work ethic and approach to the game of football made everyone around him better.
“And while we will undoubtedly miss Calvin on the field, I am at peace with his decision knowing he arrived at it with a lot of thought, consultation and prayer.”
Johnson, nicknamed Megatron, racked up more than 1,000 yards in seven of his nine seasons. However, Johnson hasn't seen many games in the playoffs with the Lions reaching the playoffs just twice, both losses in Wild Card games.
Earlier this year, Johnson released a statement that he was "evaluating his options" for the future.
Johnson finishes his career with 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns, all with the Detroit Lions.
The Lions drafted him number two overall in the 2007 draft out of Georgia Tech.
Here are some of the reactions to the retirement announcement today.
An amazing and rare talent both on and off the field, and I feel lucky to have been able to see him play. https://t.co/eSIk8iWr3M— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) March 8, 2016
I Can't Thank You Enough For Not Only Being My Mentor, But For Being My Big Brother. Helping Me… https://t.co/BsqEwFvuGc— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) March 8, 2016
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