ShareThis Page

NFL notebook: WR Johnson reportedly told Lions he's retiring

| Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, 7:27 p.m.

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.