‘We’d Love Him Back:’ Lions Owner Opens up on Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson

Getty Calvin Johnson walks off the field for the Lions in 2015.

The Detroit Lions have been embroiled in a feud with their former team legend Calvin Johnson, but all that could change soon if their owner has any say in the matter.

During Dan Campbell’s introductory press conference, a question slipped in about if the Lions wanted to make things right with Johnson and when. According to Sheila Ford Hamp, that’s a major goal for the franchise at this point in time and the seeds are being planted for a new relationship.

While Ford Hamp didn’t want to talk about the notable money end of things, she did say she hopes the Lions can work things out with Johnson for the future.

She said:

“I’m not going to go into the money issue, but I hope we can repair things with Calvin Johnson. He was obviously an amazing player for us. We’re going to continue to reach out to him and hope that we can repair things because I think it’s important that he comes back into the Lions family. We’d love it if he could, if he will. We are 100% behind him for his Hall of Fame ballots and hope he gets it this time. He was a great, great player and terrific person and we’d love to have him back with us, and working with us and helping us with everything.”

That’s a pretty honest and direct statement which would seem to indicate that the Lions want to make things right with Johnson. Recently, Barry Sanders extended his own olive branch on behalf of the Lions, so it’s clear the team is making this a major priority for the future like they should.

Now, the ball remains in the court of both Johnson and the team. The Lions will likely have to meet him on the money issue, and Johnson will have to be willing to listen. Hopefully, this can happen before a potential Hall of Fame induction later on this year.

Calvin Johnson’s Feud With Lions

For the last handful of seasons, Johnson has been embroiled in a feud with the Lions over the amount of money the team made him pay back upon his retirement, Johnson has avoided much contact with the team in the time since, but the Lions want to bring him back in the fold. Contrary to what team president Rod Wood has maintained in other recent press conferences, Johnson claims the Lions haven’t reached out to him lately.

It would be wise for Sheila Ford Hamp to mend those fences before Johnson has the potential to crack Canton, Ohio this coming year. Clearly, she could be serious about doing just that.

Calvin Johnson’s Stats With Lions

The Hall of Fame would be a special honor for Johnson given what he’s done in his career. Over his career, there were few people more productive who changed the game the way Johnson did. He was a physical specimen and also had the stats to match in order to prove his dominance over others who played his position at the time.

After breaking into the league with the Lions back in 2007 when he was a top pick in that season’s draft, Johnson didn’t hesitate to put up great plays and amazing statistics. In his career, Johnson managed a total of 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns and more than that, was a human highlight reel unlike many other receivers he matches up with on the list. That’s similar to the impact Barry Sanders made. Out of Georgia Tech in college, Johnson was labeled as one of the freakiest players in the draft and he lived up to that distinction in the NFL at nearly every single turn right up until the moment he retired after the 2015 season. It’s rare to see a player not only live up to his draft potential but exceed it, and Johnson did.

Johnson shattered Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards during the 2012 season on the field and was constantly a great player for the team, often playing through pain and discomfort to the delight of his fans. Much like Sanders, Johnson never complained and simply went about his business. That’s why he remains one of the most revered players in franchise history to this day and is deserving of this honor.

It’s on the Lions to meet Johnson halfway, and the hope is the sides can come together on some type of an agreement for the future.

READ NEXT: NFL Legends Explain Why Calvin Johnson Deserves Hall of Fame

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