Lions receiver Calvin Johnson retired after the 2015 season, only nine years into his career. He now says he thought about walking away two years earlier.
Appearing on Cold As Balls with Kevin Hart, Johnson says pain from playing football made him want to call it quits after 2013. He stayed on the team for two more seasons.
“It’s about the body, it’s about where the team was,” Johnson said. “You know, and my body was performing or putting out like I wanted it to. And come Sundays, you’re out there pregame, and you’re just like, ‘Shoot, I don’t even feel like playing today.’ That’s how it was like my last year. But my body, it changes your mindset. That pain, it changes your mindset.”
He said the pain was the worst after his seventh season, the 2013 campaign.
“I came home after that season, I was like, ‘Man, I don’t think I’ve got it anymore,” Johnson said. “‘I think I’m going to retire. I’m done.’”
In those two extra seasons, Johnson generated 1,077 yards and 1,214 yards.
A rift emerged between Johnson after the retired and the Lions demanded repayment of signing bonus money under a contract he signed after the 2011 season. He would have owed a lot more money to Detroit if he’d retired after the 2013 season.