Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson said he's "happy" for his former quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was traded to the Los Angeles Rams this offseason after requesting a move.
Appearing on The Hook, Johnson said he spoke to Stafford recently and the longtime Lion is enjoying his time in California (29:30 mark).
Johnson also seemed to envy Stafford, noting that he wished the franchise allowed him to walk at some point during his nine-year tenure with the team. The six-time Pro Bowler, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, retired in 2015.
"You know what, it sucked that they didn’t let me go but they let Matthew go. But, hey, you know, it is what it is," he said.
Johnson's retirement at age 30 was sudden, though, after a legendary career that saw him reel in 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns on 731 receptions. He led the league in receiving in two separate years.
He was in the midst of a massive eight-year, $113.5 million contract when he stepped away from football, and Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press said in 2017 that the franchise required him to pay back part of his $16 million signing bonus.
He said he would have played for any team had the Lions granted his release, with the former Oakland Raiders rumored as a destination. He didn't reveal any insight into those reports in his latest interview.
He said he still hasn't made peace with the Lions.
"I’m not back in the family with the Lions or anything like that," Johnson said. "It would be nice if they try to resolve things, but that’s neither here nor there."
By the sounds of it, he'll be living vicariously through Stafford as he gets a fresh start in his 13th NFL season.