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Dan Orlovsky defends Calvin Johnson over candid Lions talk

Calvin Johnson made some serious waves this week when footage surfaced of him in Italy candidly discussing why he chose to retire at such a young age while still among the elite wide receivers in the game. In essence, Johnson said he felt “stuck” with a Detroit Lions organization going nowhere.

“I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere,” Johnson said in part.

The candidness from Johnson not surprisingly prompted reaction. And while many agreed with his sentiments and reasoning, there were some alarmed by Johnson’s honesty. Among those who feel Johnson deserves no criticism whatsoever for how he felt nor his decision to retire is Dan Orlovsky, a former Lions backup quarterback and Johnson teammate.

Orlovsky spent four seasons with the Lions in two separate stints. He took to Twitter Wednesday morning to defend Johnson.

“He is as classy, hard working and stand up as anyone that passed through our league ever,” Orlovsky wrote, via Pro Football Talk. “He was a part of some historically tough times. That would weigh and wear on anyone. Even Megatron.”

Johnson obviously was well-compensated by the Lions throughout his career. But as Orlovsky notes, money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.

“Sports are fun when you win. Period. When your greatness is covered by your teams’ lack of it effects you immensely,” Orlovsky wrote. “He was once on a lifetime player. He should’ve been treated that way outside of $. If he feels he wasn’t, he’s probably right. . . . He should’ve been revered from top down.”

The Lions and Johnson haven’t been on the best of terms since his retirement, with Johnson saying he had to pay the team back a vast sum of money after calling it quits.

All that said, Johnson has stated he’s retired for good and never returning to the NFL. At least he deserves some credit for being candid when explaining why he retired in the first place.

[Pro Football Talk]