One day after Peyton Manning announced his retirement, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson announced he is also stepping away from the NFL effective immediately.
The 30-year-old is considered among the greatest wide receivers in the history of the game. In his final season, he had 1,214 receiving yards on 88 catches and nine touchdowns. The six-time Pro Bowler (2010-2015) finishes his career as the Lions’ all-time leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83). He set an NFL Record in 2012 for most receiving yards in a season with 1,964.
In recent years, however, Johnson had battled various injuries including nagging ankle ailments that hindered his movement and effectiveness.
During his nine-year career Johnson’s teams only made two playoff appearances and lost both times.
Johnson released the following statement regarding his retirement from pro football:
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement.
After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football.
Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.
I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game.
With the reality of my decision, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to thank. I must start with my family – thank you for all your love and support.
I also want to especially thank Mrs. Ford and the Ford Family for all their support over the years. They are tremendous owners and I loved playing for them. I would also like to recognize Mr. Ford, who I was honored to know and play for before he passed away.
While it would be hard to name them all, I would also like to thank all of my teammates past and present.
I also want to thank all of my coaches who I played for, in particular Coach Caldwell for his support, wisdom and guidance over the past two seasons. I loved playing for Coach Caldwell.
There are so many other people I would like to recognize and thank for what they have done for me throughout my career, but rather than risk forgetting someone, I will simply say “thanks” to everyone.
And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you. I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rod Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”