Matthew Stafford doesn’t think Calvin Johnson’s ever coming back
While Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson walking away from football at the age of 30 surprised many people, his quarterback wasn’t among them.
During an interview with WJR-AM, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he had a suspicion Johnson was leaning that way, and didn’t expect him to reverse course and reconsider now.
“For me, I take him very seriously at his word,” Stafford said, via Justin Rogers of MLive.com. “I’m sure he’s going to miss football. It was a big part of his life. But at the same time, I think he’s happy with his decision and he’s at peace with it. I know he’ll still pull for us, but in my mind, I don’t see [a return] happening.”
Stafford said that there were enough conversations between them over the course of seven years that he had a sense Johnson was leaning toward retirement.
“I had some inklings, and some conversations with him, and I know him well enough to know the way he was acting, the way he was talking, there was a chance it might be his last year,” Stafford said. “I wanted him to be happy. I told him, ‘If you’re happy, that’s awesome. Do it because you want to do it and don’t let anybody influence you.’ I think he’s at peace with it.”
That coincides with what Lions General Manager Bob Quinn mentioned recently on PFT Live, saying he didn’t think Johnson would have a change of heart, and avoiding the hypothetical of how they’d handle it if they did.
“Mike we haven’t even thought about that because the discussions we had with Calvin leading up to his decision, the way we left it was there was no talk about him even considering coming back,” Quinn said. “So haven’t even gotten that far.”
Considering how quietly the star receiver stepped away from a brilliant career, his decision seems to have spoken volumes to those in the organization, who now have to figure out how to score points without a guy who was once an unstoppable one-on-one matchup.