Calvin Johnson is reportedly mulling retirement this offseason, but no one has a sense of what he will actually do – not even his quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
“I wish I had a sense, to tell you the truth,” Stafford said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Calvin’s his own man. He’s his own guy. He’s a smart guy, a well-thought-out guy. So whatever decision he makes will be what is best for him and his family, and I understand that. Hopefully it’s back in Honolulu (in the) Blue and Silver for another year. I love playing with him. He does some spectacular things for our team and for me on the football field. So whatever it is, I’ll be happy for him. I’d love to play another year for him. That’s for sure.”
Johnson reportedly told Stafford early last season that he was considering retirement and Stafford reportedly kept it to himself.
Is that accurate?
“It’s partially accurate,” Stafford said. “I think anytime you have a feeling about a guy or you understand what he’s going through, you just try to respect the way he plays the game. The guy came out all year and played his tail off for us and that was pretty awesome knowing that he was at least contemplating, thinking about these things, is tough. But he’ll make his decision and we’ll go on from there.”
Johnson, 30, caught 88 balls for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Stafford would obviously love to have Megatron back, but he isn’t going to pressure him or recruit him.
“Calvin’s a unique individual,” Stafford said. “I don’t know if he can be recruited by anybody. He’s going to do what’s best for him. He was over at my house for the Super Bowl. We didn’t even bring it up. We didn’t even talk about it. We just enjoyed each other’s company, and that’s kind of the way our relationship goes. I understand I need to give him space at times and other times I’d love to know what’s going on with him and what he’s thinking. But he’s a unique individual. He does things in a unique way. We’ll see what happens.”
We’ll also see what happens with the Lions, who last year started 0-5 and 1-7 but won six of their final eight games to finish 7-9.
“Obviously kind of the tale of two seasons,” Stafford said. “The first eight, we did not play well. I did not play well. We lost too many football games in that eight-game stretch. In the second half of the season, I’m really proud of the guys – players, catching staff, everybody included – for bouncing back and winning six games. We really had a chance to win seven there, but (we) won six games late. That was huge. We played well as a team. Offense played better, defense played better. It was a great comeback to a tough start.”
And yet, if not for two plays – Kam Chancellor’s illegal bat and Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary fling – the Lions could have finished 9-7 and made the playoffs.
“Yeah, we definitely would have given ourselves a better chance, there’s no question,” Stafford said. “But that’s the NFL. You win and lose on tight plays – on plays at the end of games, clutch plays. We just didn’t do a good enough job really throughout the whole season of making those big-time plays when we needed to. That’s myself included. That’s the name of the game in the NFL. It seems like every week games are decided by a touchdown or less. It’s important to make those plays at the end of games, and we didn’t in those two instances.”