One of the bigger criticisms against the Detroit Lions regarding the Calvin Johnson post-retirement saga is how it will affect the Lions’ perception across the league. Many viewed the Lions’ attempt to recoup some of Johnson’s bonus—which they were 100 percent entitled to—as a petty move by the organization, especially considering all that Johnson had done to help the franchise over his nine-year career. Some worried that the refund was not worth the PR nightmare that incurred, and it could even hurt their chances to pull in free agents in the future.
While that last point very much remains to be seen, it’s also clear that players from across the league have noticed. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown posted this on his Instagram this week:
Brown’s caption reads, “When you see players around the league taking care of themselves this is why..... #ImJustANumber #Principles.”
Interestingly, Brown has never been one to hold out, nor has he ever seemed to get into any sort of dispute about money. Back in 2015, he skipped offseason workouts and threatened to miss training camp, but he showed up on the first day singing a much different tune.
“Holdouts never go well,” said Brown per NFL.com. “Just look at history. It always ends badly. It wouldn’t be the best decision. I make a lot of money. I pull up to camp in Rolls-Royces.”
But now it’s clear Brown supports his fellow NFL players doing whatever they can to get paid in their small playing-career window. Interestingly enough, a few fellow Lions seem to agree. As of Thursday morning, Andy Jones, Quandre Diggs, Joseph Fauria and Darius Slay have all liked Brown’s Instagram post.