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Matthew Stafford: Things will be ‘obviously different’ without Calvin Johnson


Calvin Johnson shocked the NFL world in March when he officially announced his retirement at the age of 30. Matthew Stafford, Johnson’s longtime Detroit Lions teammate, understands that things — both on and off the field — will be a lot different without Megatron in the fold.

Stafford pointed out that there were already plenty of changes in store for the Lions offense under Jim Bob Cooter — who was promoted to offensive coordinator in the middle of last season — with or without Johnson.

“It’s obviously different,” Stafford said, via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “But we have some new changes coming in on offense anyway as far as calls and things of that nature, just really trying to solidify what Jim Bob and I want to do on offense. More focused on that than anything at this point, just trying to get our guys as ready to play as we possibly can.

“Obviously it’ll be different on the field on Sundays. It’s different in the locker room not having [Johnson] and all that kind of stuff, but it’s the NFL. You get new teammates every year. Not all of them are the caliber of Calvin, there’s no question about that, but we got to move on and find the way for us to be as good as we possibly can.”

While there’s obviously no replacing a player the caliber of Johnson, the Lions did sign two players — Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley — in March to at least help fill the roster void left by the all-world wide receiver’s surprising departure.

Stafford recalled on Tuesday — the second day of Lions offseason workouts — how he had an inkling Johnson was considering retirement during the team’s Week 17 season finale match-up with the Chicago Bears, a game in which Johnson caught 10 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.

“I thought it had a chance to be,” Stafford said. “But I wasn’t 100 percent positive. I’m glad he had a sweet game.”