NFL notebook: WR Johnson reportedly told Lions he's retiring
The Lions might be forced to move on without one of the franchise's all-time greats.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson told coach Jim Caldwell at the conclusion of the season that the 2015 campaign would be his final run in the NFL, ESPN reported Sunday.
Johnson informed family and select friends of the decision before the season, according to the report.
The Lions issued a statement Sunday but did not acknowledge any of the details of the report.
“Regarding today's ESPN report, we stand by our statement issued on Jan. 6 regarding Calvin,” the team said.
When Johnson first acknowledged he was considering retirement, the team said in a statement, “We obviously have profound respect for Calvin and certainly understand and appreciate his decision to give proper thought and consideration to his football future.”
Johnson, 30, has been plagued by injuries and fought through an ankle ailment throughout this season.
Bus Cook, Johnson's agent, said Tuesday that Johnson, nicknamed “Megatron,” was still weighing his options.
A six-time Pro Bowler, Johnson set the NFL's single-season record for receiving yards with 1,964 in 2012.
He holds the franchise record for receptions (731), yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83).
Teams, players' health
Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith is a rarity in the NFL: He does not get injured. The Super Bowl will mark his 179th appearance in 180 games since the middle of the 2005 season, a decade of astonishingly good health in a relentlessly violent sport.
Rather than crediting care from his teams, Smith said he managed to suit up week after week thanks in large part to what he arranges on his own.
“You've got to get yourself a good system. Chiropractor, massage therapist, stretch therapist. A lot of guys are doing IVs now,” Smith said.
“Take care of your body. You've got to do that. If the team doesn't supply it, you spend the money.”
In an Associated Press survey of 100 NFL players released Sunday, plus additional interviews with Smith and others, a picture emerges of a profession where most employees head to work each day all-too-aware of the risks associated with what is commonly described as a 100 percent injury rate. Many said those lingering concerns affect what happens on the field.
And yet, some insist, they can't be certain whether they're receiving the best possible care. Fewer than half of those surveyed, 47 players, said they think the league's clubs, coaches and team doctors have the athletes' best interests at heart when it comes to health and safety.
Of the rest, 39 said players' interests don't always come first, and 14 either weren't sure or refused to respond.
“Some of the guys I hear stories from, they don't trust the team opinions,” Jaguars running back Denard Robinson said.
Clady wants to stay
Left tackle Ryan Clady told the Associated Press he'd be willing to restructure his contract to stay with the Broncos.
Clady sat out the 2015 season after tearing his left ACL in May and is missing a Super Bowl for the second time. Two years ago, he was out with a foot injury.
Clady, whose five-year, $52.5 million contract signed in 2013 is the largest ever for a Broncos offensive lineman, underwent knee surgery in June and said he's ready for the upcoming offseason.
“I don't know if they want me to do OTAs, but I feel I'm capable,” he said. “They might want me to take it slow and then just be ready for training camp. We'll see.”
Lions hire Edsall
Former Maryland coach Randy Edsall is joining the Lions as a director of football research. The Lions announced the hiring Sunday.
Edsall was fired in October in the middle of his fifth season with the Terrapins. He went 22-34 after taking over at Maryland in 2011.