Calvin Johnson, one of the most unstoppable wide receivers in NFL history, will reportedly retire after a nine-year career, all with the Detroit Lions. Johnson, 30, had 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns this past season.
That was considered a down year.
So, what do we make of Johnson’s decision to walk away?
“Something’s up with Detroit, man,” Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I don’t know. Barry Sanders did it years ago. There’s probably so many factors. Is it injuries? He’s been nicked up the last couple of years and he’s a big guy. It could be the concussion thing. Maybe he wants to spend more time with his family. You don’t know what a football player thinks unless you talk to him and know the guy. You can speculate and say, ‘Well it’s this, this and this,’ but maybe he doesn’t have the passion for the game. Maybe it’s the direction the organization is moving. Are they moving in the right direction to win games? We don’t know. So kudos to him. The guy’s a great player.”
Johnson caught more passes through nine seasons than any receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice or Torry Holt. Johnson has 46 100-yard games since 2007 – the most in the NFL. He also has the most receiving yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83) of any player to never win a playoff game.
Whether Johnson winds up in Canton is anyone’s guess.
“It’ll be tough,” Reed said. “I think he’s Hall of Fame-caliber. Do I think he gets in, if he retires, five years from now? He’s going to be compared to his era of players, right? So now these guys with (Terrell Owens) and (Randy) Moss, Hines Ward, Marvin Harrison – all these guys coming up, that was after me. I was with Cris (Carter) and Tim (Brown) and Michael Irvin and Jerry. It’s a different game. What the criteria for what a Hall of Famer is is always different every year. You got 46 guys, and 46 guys, they don’t all agree. Just like Terrell Davis. Is Terrell Davis a Hall of Famer? Yes, I think he is. Had some of the greatest seasons in seven years that he played. But to some of these voters, it’s the longevity factor that is really the niche for Terrell. But to me, I hope (Johnson) goes in. I hope he gets it.”
In other Hall of Fame news, former Rams coach Mike Martz said it’s “ridiculous” that Owens was named a Canton finalist over Holt and Bruce. Owens ranks second and third, respectively, in receiving yards (15,934) and receiving touchdowns (153).
Reed said all three receivers should be Hall of Famers but declined to rank them.
“Numbers-wise, they got great numbers,” he said. “From the craft, out of those three, I’m not going (to do an injustice) to any of them. Terrell probably had the most impact. Isaac Bruce is probably the most consistent, and Torry Holt had ten 1,000-yard seasons – eight of them in a row. It’s hard to say from my standpoint because I look at the guys I played with. That’s a tough one, Doug. Really, that is. I’m not going to say one is better than the other two.”