Calvin Johnson is back!
Okay, wait. No. He’s not coming out of retirement. Let me make that very clear at the top of this.
But as evidenced by a video shared by the team's Twitter account, the Detroit Lions welcomed Calvin Johnson to OTA practices this week, which seems to signify the true end of the dispute between Johnson and the team, which was fueled by the Lions asking for some of Johnson’s signing bonus back following his sudden retirement in 2016.
Things have been trending in the right direction all offseason. Johnson specifically credited team chief operating officer Mike Disner for helping bridge the gap after seven years of a stalemate.
“I’m excited about him actually reaching out and putting the effort forward to try and make that happen,” Johnson said during an interview in February. “That’s the difference that I have not seen in the past that’s happening now.”
A few months later, Johnson joined fellow Lions legend Barry Sanders in welcoming the Lions' first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’ll also be hosting a kids camp at the team facility in June.
Despite his dispute with the team, Johnson has always been very respectful of coach Dan Campbell, who actually was his teammate in Detroit back in 2007-08.
“I love Dan, man. I played with Dan,” said Calvin back in March. “I love Dan so much because, not only because he’s a teammate, but he’s a soldier, man.”
It may just be a little three-second video, but this embrace warms my heart.
absolutely love to see it— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 24, 2023
Hopefully, this will be a very common occurrence in the future. Just think of the benefits of having Hall of Famer and noted workaholic Calvin Johnson around to help mentor Detroit’s incredibly young roster, including guys like Jameson Williams, Antoine Green, and even Amon-Ra St. Brown.