It was an emotional day for Lions fans when Calvin Johnson officially retired two weeks ago. Most were understanding and accepted his decision while others were bitter about the situation. Most everyone seems to have accepted that he will not play in the NFL ever again. But, one of Johnson’s former teammates is encouraging him to make a comeback, only with a different team.
Former Lions wideout Nate Burleson, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network, doesn’t want to see Calvin ride off into the sunset without a Super Bowl ring. He wrote about Johnson’s career and the influence it had on his own career. The last sentence is what has been raising eyebrows. “Now, take this year off … then find a way to land with the (New England) Patriots and get a championship ring. You deserve it.”
There is a problem with that strategy, though: Johnson’s rights are still owned by the Lions. Should he decide to un-retire, he would be property of Detroit, at a cap hit of $15.96 million in 2016. If that would happen and the team could not afford the cap hit, however, they would likely be forced to cut Johnson.
At this point, it seems unlikely that Johnson comes out of retirement. He stated that he was “at peace” with his decision to walk away from football. His body has taken a beating. And most importantly, he has stayed loyal to the Lions since coming into the league, making it less likely that he would force the hand of the Lions, at least this quickly.
While numerous people might have their own grand designs for what they think is best for Calvin, it remains unlikely at this point that he will return to the NFL in 2016.