As news begins to creep in and anxieties continue to rise in Detroit, more details emerge regarding Calvin Johnson's retirement dilemma.
Most damning of all reports came from ESPN's Ed Werder:
Megatron source: "Calvin is the kind of guy who says, "If I don't feel I'm into this 100%, then I need to decide if want to be in at all.''— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 7, 2016
Source says Calvin Johnson told his mother he wasn't sure wanted to play any more; cleaned out his #Lions locker unlike other vet players— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 7, 2016
That last detail is particularly worrisome. It's not uncommon for players to clean out their locker quickly, but if Calvin got in there quicker than others, it shows his eagerness to move on from the season. And any time a player is discussing retirement with family members, it is a serious consideration.
But Johnson isn't only tapping his family member for advice, he has reportedly already reached out to several teammates regarding his decision:
#Lions WR Calvin Johnson is serious about considering retirement, and he's mentioned his thoughts to teammates over the last few weeks.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2016
This would help explain some of the emotional moments on the field after the Chicago Bears game: Matthew Stafford's and Calvin's embrace, the fact that Megatron saved the ball from his final touchdown of the year. This all points to something that Johnson has been seriously considering for awhile now.
Calvin has also talked to former teammate Nate Burleson, who always seems to have an insight into the inner-workings of the Detroit Lions organization:
.@Nate13burleson on Calvin's statement on @NFLnetwork: We should take it as serious as we take Calvin’s play on the field. .. (Not about $$)— Paula Pasche (@paulapasche) January 7, 2016
Watch Burleson's segment in its entirety here.
The reason for his retirement is still unknown, although common sense would point to a growing number of injuries. Still, Ian Rapoport filed a report to NFL Network and said the following:
"It's not about his contract, but he has been reading some of the headlines -- and we've been talking about it -- about whether the Lions are going to ask him to take a paycut, whether or not they could trade him [...] all of this has led Calvin Johnson to simply say 'alright, take a step back. Everybody stop. Let me consider my future first.'"
Rapoport also lists injuries, fatigue and frustration with his usage in the offense as potential reasons for Calvin's deliberation. He also mentions at the end of his report that Johnson is "not inclined to take a pay cut at this point."
Whatever Calvin decides to do and for whatever reason makes his decision, we'll all have to wait at this point. And we may have to wait a while, because as Burleson said, "[Calvin] doesn't like to talk."