Sportress of Blogitude

Jim Caldwell says Calvin Johnson made the right decision to retire


Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was understandably disappointed when he learned that Calvin Johnson was going to retire, for obvious reasons. But the way he sees it, when every factor is taken into account — especially the wide receiver’s own opinion — Johnson made the right decision.

Calling Johnson a “great competitor” as well as a “world-class person,” Caldwell relayed what he knew about the wide receiver’s ultimate decision to hang up his cleats for good.

“He gave it serious thought,” Caldwell said at the NFL owners meetings this week, via ESPN. “He weighed out all those options. He talked to the family members, agent, you name it. He did a thorough examination, but most importantly did a thorough examination of himself and made a decision I thought was best for him.”

Caldwell mentioned that he had several discussions with Johnson once reports surfaced that he was pondering retirement. And once the wide receiver arrived at his decision, Caldwell feels no stone was left unturned in the process.

“The most important thing is I think that he was certainly comfortable with his decision,” Caldwell said. “He did the best thing for him and I think that’s all that counts, to be honest with you.”

Calling Johnson “one of the most humble superstars” he’s ever been around, the head coach explained that Johnson’s absence will be felt by the Lions organization far beyond the gridiron.

“Just a tremendous guy,” he said. “So he’ll be missed in more ways than just the fact that he’s able to run by people, jump over the top of people and catch touchdown passes.”

Now that Johnson’s NFL career is in the books, it’s unfortunate to see that his arguably premature retirement at the age of 30 means he fails to crack even the Top 20 in any significant NFL statistical receiving category. How that plays into whether or not he deserves and/or ultimately earns enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame remains to be seen, while leaving one to ponder what might have been.

All that aside, the Lions had no choice but to move on without it. The team did sign former Bengals wideout Marvin Jones to a five-year, $40 million deal upon Johnson announcing his retirement. Caldwell did, however, clarify that there’s no replacing a Calvin Johnson, nor would it be fair to put that kind of pressure on Jones.

“There’s only one Calvin Johnson,” he said.