As he enters another long offseason, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is surprisingly considering retirement from the NFL.
The Lions released a statement from Johnson on Wednesday.
“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” said Johnson, who also revealed he would be making a decision in the “not-too-distant future.”
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, one former teammate of Johnson’s believes the six-time Pro Bowl receiver is ready to walk away from the game.
“There has been some conversations about it, not asking me how it is,” said the former teammate. “But I think the guy’s beat up. I think he’s been through enough. And I think it’s just his time. He’s made the money, got the records, but whatever. I don’t know for sure if he’s going to do it. I don’t know if he’s going to get that itch to keep going. I really don’t know.”
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 draft, Johnson has been a transcendent talent over his nine seasons in the NFL. He has 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns, including his sixth straight 1,000-yard season in 2015. He set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season with 1,964 in 2012.
Johnson played in all 16 games this season, but he dealt with a number of injuries, mostly to his lower body. Overall, however, he has only missed nine games in his career.
Johnson turns 31 next September. He will count over $24 million on the Lions salary cap in 2016.
Few have played the game at a higher level over the last decade than Johnson, but nine years in the NFL can take a toll. The aches and pains of a grueling season can be difficult to stomach, especially for a player who has participated in only two postseason games in his career. The Lions finished 7-9 in 2015, just one year after Detroit won 11 games.