Calvin Johnson Dishes on Lions’ ‘Bad Energy,’ Aaron Rodgers Connection

Calvin Johnson

Getty Calvin Johnson makes a catch against the Packers in 2014.

Calvin Johnson will go into the Hall of Fame over the weekend, and when he does, the wide receiver might not be likely to make any mention of the Detroit Lions, his former team.

Johnson and the Lions remain locked in a bitter feud which is driven by money. The franchise elected to make Johnson pay back a chunk of his signing bonus after his retirement and not let the former Pro Bowler keep the money.

While joining The Pat McAfee Show, Johnson discussed the host’s belief that there is a curse on the Lions due to the fact that the team made him pay said money back and addressed whether or not he believed him going into the Hall of Fame could help lift the curse. While Johnson might not have been willing to go there, he did admit that there is some negativity that’s been brewing around the franchise for quite some time.

“I’m not going to say anything about curses, but definitely bad vibes there for sure. It’s bad energy there when you do that, 100 percent. You got your best players there and then they’re not on good terms, of course that’s bad energy,” Johnson told McAfee.

Johnson and the Lions have been trying to patch things up in recent months, but it seems as if that has hit a stopping point at least in the short term. While Johnson told McAfee he doesn’t hold the team’s current players or coaches at fault, he clearly harbors a bit of resentment toward the front office.

Johnson Reveals Aaron Rodgers Tried to Recruit Him to Packers

Could Johnson have joined the Lions’ heated rival in the Green Bay Packers? While there might not have been official trade talks between the teams, that theme was a common topic between him and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As Johnson explained, Rodgers used to try and get him to join the other side routinely, even if he knew that it wasn’t completely possible.

“Aaron’s got to tell you, if he ever ran the ball over to the sidelines, I always stood on the sidelines, if he saw me he’d just be over there like ‘c’mon over here, c’mon over to the other sideline.’ I wish I could but the way this thing works, this ain’t basketball,” Johnson explained.

As Johnson said later in the same interview, he has maintained that hypothetically, if he were to play anywhere else, Green Bay could have been a desired location thanks mostly to Rodgers. Apparently, the feeling may have been mutual on the other side.

Johnson teaming up with the Packers at any point would have been nightmare fuel for Lions fans who have watched their bitter rival torment them for years in plenty of ways. Thankfully for them, it never came to that, but it’s clear that other players saw Johnson playing in Detroit and were pondering a way to try and pry him loose.

Anatomy of Johnson’s Ongoing Feud With Lions

Johnson walked away from the Lions in March of 2016 with three years left on the contract extension he originally signed in 2012. As a result of that, the Lions made him pay back a portion of the signing bonus that he received as is their right, which was a controversial business decision. Other teams have elected to allow star players to keep their signing bonuses such as when quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired and the Indianapolis Colts didn’t come after him for big money. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, the Colts eventually settled with Luck and did not force him to pay back a major sum. The opposite happened in Detroit’s case with their star.

When this played out, there were some major hard feelings between the wideout and the front office as well as ownership. After Johnson retired, he has kept his distance from the team, even as many within the front office wanted him to patch things up with them prior to his Hall of Fame enshrinement.

It’s clear listening to Johnson discuss the past and present why that might not happen anytime soon.

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