(ALLEN PARK, MI) – Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who for the past nine seasons established himself as one of the greatest wide receivers in National Football League history, today announced his retirement from the NFL effective immediately.
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement,” Johnson wrote in a prepared statement. ““After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football.”
Johnson also filed his retirement papers with the NFL today in advance of the new League year which begins at 4:00pm tomorrow.
“On behalf on my entire family I want to thank Calvin for being not only a great player for the Lions,” said Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford. “But, for also being the absolute best representative our team, franchise and community could ever ask for. He was the epitome of dignity, class, humility and excellence.”
The Lions also announced, with respect to Johnson’s contract, that those “matters were settled to the satisfaction of the parties.”
Johnson’s unique combination of size, speed and strength elevated him to one of the League’s all-time greats. After the Lions drafted Johnson with the second pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, he went on to set every significant career Lions receiving record.
He retires as the team’s career leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619), receiving touchdowns (83), and most 100-yard receiving games (46). He also set a team record by recording a reception in the most consecutive games (135), which includes every game he played with the Lions.
“I sincerely appreciate his professionalism in dealing with what undoubtedly was one of the most important decisions he’ll ever make,” said Lions president Rod Wood. “Our dealings over the past few months were consistently professional and respectful and we thank him for that.”
Not only did Johnson achieve on the field, but his community involvement and charity work earned him League-wide respect from players and coaches alike. Johnson has served the communities of Detroit and Atlanta, his hometown, through the Calvin Johnson Jr Foundation.
“And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you,” Johnson addressed the fans. “I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”