He wrote in a Tuesday piece on the Players' Tribune:
"I can honestly say that I don't miss playing. I love football. But it became difficult to love the game as much when I was in some sort of pain every day. I never talked about it while I was playing because...what good would that do? It wouldn't make me hurt any less. It would just sound like an excuse. And I hate making excuses. So I continued to play as best I could for as long as I could, which turned out to be nine years."
Johnson said fans ask him whether he is coming back "all the time," but he is firm about not returning to the NFL.
Johnson delved into the list of activities he has enjoyed since leaving football, which include skiing, golfing, fishing and surfing. He also said getting married was the best thing he has done following his football career. His wife, Brittney, was the one who talked him into competing on Dancing With the Stars, he added.
He also revealed Dancing With the Stars helped him transition into retirement because it provided "confidence when facing the uncertainty" and granted him an outlet to channel his competitive energy.
While Johnson explained football was his "passion" but "not my purpose" when closing the door on a possible return, it is easy to see why fans hoped for a comeback.
He was one of the best players in the league in 2015, as he tallied more than 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth straight year and still appeared tobe in the prime of his career. His sixth straight Pro Bowl nod reaffirmed the notion, but he called it quits after nine seasons instead of continuing his career.