The Detroit Lions haven’t had a ton of elite players lately, but during the last decade, they did have a few according to the NFL.
Recently, the league released their All-Decade team from 2010 until now, Detroit didn’t get much love. A few players who did make the list, however, were wideout Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. On offense and defense, it’s tough to underestimate the impact that each made and is making in the league.
Overall, the Lions landing only a pair of players on this list feels right. Detroit didn’t have a banner decade whatsoever, so it’s probably a semi-miracle that they did land some players on the list at all.
Ndamukong Suh Stats
After being the second pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, Suh wasted little time cementing himself as a fearsome defensive player in the NFL. He played 4 seasons in Detroit, and eventually left for Miami, then Los Angeles and currently Tampa Bay. He has put up 518 tackles and 58.5 sacks thus far in his career. He’s also been a 5 time Pro Bowler and a 3 time first team NFL All-Pro.
In Detroit, Suh became a villain thanks to the way his play would push the envelope but has since mellowed a bit.
Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame Case Examined
Johnson is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021, and it’s interesting to see some of the hype he is getting as it relates to making it to Canton next year. Recently, John Breech of CBS Sports debated some of the candidates for Johnson’s class, and explained their chances.
When it came to Johnson, Breech explained the potential ups and downs of Johnson trying to get the call next year. Here’s a look at his conclusion:
“You can definitely make a strong argument that Calvin Johnson belongs in the Hall of Fame, but Megatron might have a tough time getting in during his first-year of eligibility, and that’s mainly because his career was so short. Johnson decided to retire after just nine seasons, and that was mainly due to two reasons: His body was beat up and he was fed up with the Lions. As a matter of fact, Johnson actually did a recent interview where he took another shot at his former team.
“First thing, I’m like, ‘Whoa, this is how you should take care of your players,'” Johnson told the Behind the Mask podcast. “I go to Miami — it ain’t like Miami’s winning, but they’re taking care of their players … I go to Oakland, I’m like, ‘Damn, we don’t have none of this in Detroit.'”
Despite his sour relationship with the Lions, he did thrive during his time with the team. During his nine-year career, Johnson led was named an All-Pro three times and he led the NFL in receiving yards twice. Megatron also led the NFL in receptions in 2012 when he caught 122 passes. The impressive thing is that he did all of this even though he was usually the focal point of every opponent’s defense. During that 2012 season, Johnson finished with 1,964 receiving yards, which is still the NFL’s single-season record. As a matter of fact, no player in the NFL has even finished a season with 1,900 yards.
The biggest knock on Johnson is that he never really played on any good Lions teams. During his time in Detroit, the Lions went just 54-90 and he went 0-2 in the playoffs. Of course, no one will be blaming those losses on Johnson, especially his first one. Back in January 2012, Johnson caught 12 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-28 loss to the Saints.”
Johnson would seem to be a lock to make it to the Hall of Fame given what he did in the NFL for years and also given the way he changed the game at wide receiver.
Calvin Johnson Lions Statistics
Since he came into the league with the Lions in 2007, Johnson wasted little time putting up great plays and amazing statistics. In his career, Johnson put up 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns and more than that, was a human highlight reel unlike any other receiver on the list. Out of Georgia Tech, Johnson was labeled as one of the freakiest players in the draft and he lived up to that distinction in the NFL.
Johnson shattered Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards during the 2012 season and was a stable force for the team, often playing through pain and discomfort on the field. He walked away following the 2015 season, leaving a gaping hole in Detroit’s wideout group. Since, Johnson has been embroiled in a feud with the Lions for the last few seasons over money that the team made him pay back upon retirement.
Johnson and Suh could be players who could both be on the NFL Hall of Fame radar as a result of this honor.
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