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Notes: Calvin Johnson wanted to play elsewhere before retiring

The Lions still have a long way to go with Calvin.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp

From statements made in interviews and tidbits leaking out through social media over the past six months, it seemed like 2021 was finally going to be the year the Lions got Calvin Johnson back to being involved with the organization.

The perfect opportunity came along when Calvin was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2021 as a first-ballot inductee. February was a feel-good celebration of his career that the team joined in wholeheartedly. Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press believed there was a chance the team could mend its relationship with its newest Hall-of-Famer sometime in the months that followed.

A little over three weeks ago, in an interview with The Athletic’s Chris Burke, Johnson seemed to have a positive view of the organization’s current leadership. Then at the start of June, the former Lions wide receiver spoke to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard and again had a lot of nice things to say. Things seem to be going well, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

Calvin Johnson and his business partner Rob Sims were on Woodward Sports Network’s show The Hook and here’s the part that is getting the buzz in the media now (starts around 30:10 in the full interview):

So the two new pieces of information are that Calvin did in fact ask the Lions to give him an opportunity to play somewhere else (whether via trade or release) and they said no, and that he does not consider the relationship to be fixed at all. Here is Woodward Sports’ Kory Woods:

Johnson stated when it was time for him to retire, he asked the Lions front office if they would allow him to move on. And they denied his request.

“We asked would they release me or let me go to another team,” said Johnson. “They wouldn’t.”

Another nugget that Johnson let slip is that there is still a lingering issue with him and the Lions, but that won’t impact his relationship with the players.

What’s interesting is that The Hook co-host Tom Mazawey had merely said offhand “we’re glad you’re back in the family,” it prompted the following reply:

“I’m not back in the family with Lions or anything like that,” said Johnson. “It would be nice to if they try to resolve things, but that’s neither here nor there.”

So, on it goes.

Now on to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • One of the points highlighted in today’s article by our Fearless Leader Jeremy Reisman is that the Lions could not afford an expensive wide receiver unit. According to tabulation and rankings by Warren Sharp, the Lions’ WR corps has the second-lowest cap hit for the position group in the league for 2021.

  • It’s not just the players, coaches, and cheerleaders that pitch in for the organization’s community outreach: