Calvin Johnson never got the chance to leave the Detroit Lions to pursue greatness elsewhere, but his former quarterback Matthew Stafford did, and that makes the Hall of Fame wide receiver happy.
Stafford has gone to the Los Angeles Rams after a trade from the Lions and has seen early success, which makes Johnson thrilled to say the least given the trajectory of his own career took later on in the Motor City.
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Speaking on Cris Carter’s podcast WR1 With Cris Carter, Johnson was interviewed, and provided an interesting take on Stafford’s departure. Specifically, Johnson admitted to being happy seeing his friend and former teammate having success elsewhere. After playing his entire career with the Lions and getting frustrated and worn out, Johnson walked away and was not afforded the chance to start over elsewhere. The same cannot be said for Stafford, who managed to get a trade to a contender, which Johnson told Carter he was glad to see play out.
“I’m happy for him man, he spends a lot of time in California. I know his wife loves it. He’s in a happy place,” Johnson said to Carter. “If you’re where you want to be at and you get to live and work there, it’s not work at all. He’s just loving life right now. I can only imagine and dream of how great the situation is, but I just hope he has success out there.”
So far, Stafford has been successful early on in leading the Rams to a 2-0 record with plenty of individual success as well given 599 yards and 5 touchdowns. The book has been far from written on what will happen to Stafford’s career from here, but it’s clear that others he played with are rooting for him in a big way.
Calvin Johnson Reveals How Cowboys Motivated Him
For years, Johnson got the job done on the field in a big way, but what drove him in certain cases to step up on the field for the Lions? Sometimes, it was the simple things, like Johnson hearing other rival players get hyped up before matchups.
“Rex Ryan or his brother (Rob Ryan), down in Dallas, they had a big thing going on where Dez is the best receiver in the league and basically I was his understudy. That kind of struck a chord a little bit,” Johnson told Carter. “Both of those games when he was talking that mad cash, I was turned up, I was ready to go and make some plays. Obviously one of them is that 300 yard game, the other one, we went into Dallas and we came back and won beat the boys out there in Dallas. That’s the best feeling, especially when you go into someone else’s stadium and make it go quiet.”
In his career, Johnson routinely seemed to save his best for Dallas, as evidence of some of the statistics he put up against the Cowboys on the field. Johnson put up 522 yards and 4 touchdowns against Dallas in his career, and obviously, those statistics were boosted by this pair of huge performances on the field. Though he was 2-2 against the Cowboys all-time, both of those performances were all-world.
It probably wasn’t a wise idea to poke the bear in Johnson, but the Cowboys apparently did in some subtle ways. This just goes to show how players can use anything for motivation ahead of a matchup. Johnson was apparently a master at doing just this.
Johnson’s Career Stats and Highlights
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 Jerry 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.
Here’s some of his best highlights:
Johnson is now a Hall of Famer, and while his public battle with the Lions goes on, it’s clear the wideout still has plenty of love for his former teammates.
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