Calvin Johnson Says His Relationship with Lions Is 'Nil;' 'No Back and Forth'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2015, file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field in Detroit. The former Lions superstar said the team wanted him to change his story regarding one of the many concussions he had during his nine-year NFL career. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Time can generally heal all wounds, but the relationship between Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions remains as strained as ever. 

"There's no back and forth there," Johnson said to the Detroit Free-Press' Dave Birkett. "That's fine with me. I'm handling my business, I'm sure they're handling theirs."

Birkett noted that Johnson spoke to a group of Lions receivers over Zoom earlier this spring. The six-time Pro Bowler explained how he remains friendly with wide receivers coach Robert Prince.

Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg interviewed Johnson in September 2019. The 34-year-old abruptly retired after the 2015 season, telling Rosenberg he might have contemplated playing a little bit longer if the Lions were a more regular winner during his nine seasons.

Johnson also told Birkett in June 2019 that one source of friction between himself and the organization is that team officials made him repay a portion of a $16 million signing bonus he had received in 2012, which Birkett noted is unusual for NFL teams to do for "players in good standing."

"They already know what they got to do," he said to Birkett. "The only way they're going to get me back is they put that money back in my pocket. Nah, you don't do that. I don't care what they say. They can put it back, then they can have me back. That's the bottom line."