Lions Legend Applauds Team for Handling of Matthew Stafford Trade

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford walk off the field after a Lions game.

The Detroit Lions haven’t made a habit of doing right by their star players in terms of exits for the last few decades, but the winds of change could be beginning to shift in the organization.

Matthew Stafford and the Lions have been going through a very public divorce the last few weeks, but there’s been no hard feelings or animosity on either side. The Lions reportedly helped Stafford pick his destination of the Los Angles Rams and helped facilitate the deal.

All of that matters greatly in the scope of things according to former Lions wideout Herman Moore. Moore was interviewed recently by Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV and explained that given where the Lions have come from as an organization, it’s good to see things changing and he hopes that carries over to Calvin Johnson soon so the legend comes back into the mix.

Moore said:

“My view is, whether the Lions will own up to it or not, they’ve had a history of not gracefully allowing players to exit the organization. It hasn’t always been in the way in which you saw what happened with Stafford to where both sides are agreeing and talking publicly about there may be a way in which they’re going to part ways. It’s not just your star players, it’s your players in general. I think it sets the tone and sets the example. I was very glad to see that, that was wonderful. I can identify wth Calvin and Barry. I soured on the organization at some point and I’m sure they soured on me. But it’s good to see this change a little bit.”

Obviously, for Moore, the hope is that the franchise has learned from their past mistakes and can own up to what happened with Johnson and make things right. There could be answers on that sooner rather than later, which would be good news for Detroit and trying to keep all the team alumni happy.

Hopefully, the Lions take a similar approach with Johnson as they did to Stafford.

Barry Sanders Wants Calvin Johnson Back in the Fold

There’s been hard feelings on the side of Johnson in the last few years potentially for good reason, but franchise legend Barry Sanders wants to see that come to an end eventually, and he’s putting out word to Johnson that the team would welcome him back whenever he’s ready to rejoin the fold.

Joining the Pat McAfee Show, Sanders explained that he would like to see Johnson back in the mix with the franchise and on better terms even though he can understand some of the hard feelings that have been ongoing in the last few years. Even in spite of that, he would like to see a happy ending and a reunion between the sides play out.

Sanders said:

“I don’t see Calvin often, I’ve bumped into him maybe once or twice since he retired. It would be great if he felt welcome to come back and do anything with the Lions. I know from sort of going through that experience sometimes it takes a little time for one to just get away from it for a while, and mature and see things a different way or whatever the case may be. I know that I speak for the Lions in saying he’s certainly welcome and we hope that happens sooner rather than later.”

McAfee then pressed Sanders on whether he thought the money issue was the biggest factor for Johnson being out of the mix in Detroit. As he explained, it could have plenty to do with many different variables, but he wants Johnson to know that there can be a happy ending to the situation.

“It’s never fun to have to write those large checks. I can’t speak for Calvin, I know for me it was just a matter of time and sort of time passing and enough perspective on the situation and realizing I’m a Lion for life and I probably could have handled things differently on my end as far as retiring. After a certain number of years, you realize look, the Lions are my family. You move on. It was great memories. I don’t know how Calvin feels about that, but obviously he’s up for the Hall of Fame this year. He put up great stats, people always remember him as a Lion. Eventually you just put differences aside and come together and get past some of the differences you had in the past.”

It’s long been expected that time would heal all wounds as it relates to this scenario, and that’s just what could play out if Sanders is right. Currently, Sanders works with the team closely as an active alumni to engage the fanbase and community, so his words are not to be taken lightly.

This could represent an interesting olive branch from the team to Johnson just ahead of him potentially cracking the Hall of Fame.

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, 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 soon.

Whenever that time comes, hopefully, the franchise has learned some lessons from past interactions with players like Moore and Sanders to apply to Johnson.

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