There used to be a saying in the Lions dressing room when players visited with former teammates who were playing elsewhere in the league.
“You have arrived,” they would tell their buddies.
In other words you are playing for a real organization in the NFL and have escaped the Mickey Mouse Lions. They said it to guys who “arrived” in Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami and New York.
That brings us to former Lion Calvin Johnson who retired because his body is beaten up and he was tired of losing with the Lions. The Lions broke Johnson and his heart was no longer with playing for this organization.
I broke the Johnson retirement story and my source emphasized the number one reason Johnson was retiring was health. The Lions stinking was a secondary issue. However, it was a bigger issue then I was led to believe.
It seems as Calvin wanted to “arrive” during recent comments to reporters.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them,” Johnson told reporters last week in Italy while attending Italian Bowl XXXVII, the country’s American football league championship. “I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall … and not going anywhere.”
Johnson is not moaning and complaining. He is stating facts. The Lions were not going to release him so he retired. The NFL and NBA are different. The top NFL players have way less leverage than the top NBA players.
If this were the NBA Johnson could have formed a super team with Tom Brady. But Kevin Durant and LeBron James situations are unheard of in the NFL. Different league and different rules.
Johnson decided to walk rather than beat his head in frustration.