Ever since his retirement, Calvin Johnson has slowly been coming out of the shadows. Though he made his retirement announcement with just a mere press release, we are starting to see more of the All-Pro receiver as of late. He has been more active on social media, he briefly spoke with the media during his football camp and now he has joined ESPN for what looks to be a highly personal, in-depth interview.
On Wednesday, ESPN teased an interview with the former Detroit Lions receiver for the program "E:60," ESPN’s investigative newsmagazine show.
Though only a snippet of the interview is included in the clip, Johnson drops what could potentially be a heartbreaking line for Lions fans. "If we would have been a contender, it would have been harder to let go," Johnson admits. This would be a particularly hard pill to swallow considering Johnson had reportedly decided about his retirement on the heels of the Lions' impressive 11-5 season in 2014. Perhaps the full context of this quote will reveal more about his thought process.
In addition to retirement talk, Calvin gets into injuries in the NFL. The discussion turned to concussion and, again, Johnson revealed something particularly eye-opening:
The last line is particularly interesting:
"I don't know how many I've had over my career, you know, but I've definitely had my fair share."
Johnson was never publicly diagnosed with a concussion in his NFL career. In 2012, there was an odd sequence of events in which Johnson admitted to suffering a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Chad Greenway and subsequently playing through the injury. The Lions then announced he was never diagnosed with a concussion, forcing Johnson to clarify his statements, saying he instead suffered nerve damage. The NFL looked into the situation at the time and did not find any wrongdoings.
Calvin even opened up on the NFL's painkiller problem as well:
Calvin on availability of painkillers: "It was nothing. I mean, if you needed Vicodin, call out, 'My ankle hurt,'" https://t.co/FR1nYbt2Jh— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) July 6, 2016
While it's refreshing to see the normally reserved Calvin speak so openly about these things, it's also a bit tragic to hear all of these confessions when it's already too late.
ESPN has released a story on the interview, and will air the entire segment on Thursday, July 7 at 10 p.m. on ESPN.
UPDATE: ESPN has released three uncut minutes of the interview: