For the past year, Detroit Lions Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson has made vague references to his relationship with his former team slowly improving. But on Tuesday during an interview with Jim Rome, Johnson made it sounds like the two sides are ready to bury the hatchet for good.
“I’m excited to be around the team again,” Johnson said. “Just being around football and allow my kids to see some of the things that I was able to do while I was with Detroit.”
The relationship fractured back in 2016 upon Johnson’s retirement. The Lions wide receiver accused the Lions—specifically team president Rod Wood—for immediately bringing up the issue of money. The Lions were within their rights to recoup a prorated portion of Johnson’s signing bonus, although some teams waive that right when it comes to their most honored players as a courtesy. The Lions went through with the demand, reclaiming $1.6 million from Johnson.
So how have the Lions and Johnson since made progress after years of each side staying put? Johnson credits current Lions chief operating officer Mike Disner. Disner joined the Lions in 2019 to help with the team’s salary cap operations and has since seen his role grow within the organization. Now it appears he’s front and center in mending this relationship.
“I’m excited about him actually reaching out and putting the effort forward to try and make that happen,” Johnson said. “That’s the difference that I have not seen in the past that’s happening now.”
That said, there is still work to do. Johnson said that at this point, they’re having “good conversations.” And it’s unclear what role Johnson would have within the organization going forward, but he believes he can provide plenty of guidance to Detroit’s young roster.
“I want to be back around football and help out the team,” Johnson said. “Not that they need my help, but I have a lot of experience to share with those guys, whether it’s football or off-the-field (matters). I definitely could be of value to the organization.”
You can watch a portion of his interview with Jim Rome below: