ON THIS DAY: Calvin Johnson officially announces retirement from the NFL

March 8 is a date that fans of Detroit sports will always remember. It is the day one of its all-time great athletes hung ’em up and called it a career.

It sort of is hard to believe that it has been two whole calendar years since former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson called it quits and retired from the National Football League after nine seasons.

Johnson turned in nine grueling, pain-filled seasons with Detroit from 2007-15 after the Lions selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Despite seemingly being in constant pain throughout it all, the man they called “Megatron” missed just nine out of a possible 144 regular season games.

Johnson in those nine seasons by and far as the franchise’s all-time leading receiver, posting top marks in total receiving yards (11,619), receiving touchdowns (83) and receiving yards per game (86.1). He recorded four double-digit touchdown seasons, including a league-leading 12 in 2008. Johnson also twice led the NFL in total receiving yards in back-to-back seasons (2011-12). In fact, his 2012 total of 1,964 ranks No. 1 all-time in NFL history for a single season.

Johnson in his career was named to six straight Pro Bowls from 2010-15 as well as a three-time first-team All-Pro from 2011-13.

Life after football for Megatron has been rather eventful at times in the two years since the announcement became official. He’s been very open and honest about how the relationship between him and the Lions did not end on the greatest of terms. Johnson also came forward in May of 2017 about how he endured multiple concussions throughout his career and deliberately hid such injuries from the Lions’ coaches and staff.

To say there has been a rift between the two parties over time would be an understatement.

Despite being out of the NFL for two full seasons now, Johnson has continued to generate a lot of buzz within the league. Last year alone, he attended OTAs for the Oakland Raiders and training camp for the Miami Dolphins, almost solely as mentoring figure. However, teams around the league were reportedly interested in working out a trade for the rights to Megatron as recent as this past 2017 season prior to the trade deadline, with reports as many as multiple teams being interested.

More recently, Johnson was among a group of 13 players and coaches back in January of this year to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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