Calvin Johnson has gone through numerous injury issues during his nine-year NFL career, and it sounds like it might be taking its toll. The Detroit Lions wide receiver issued a statement on Wednesday saying he is evaluating his options for the future, which could include retirement. The Detroit Free Press is reporting Johnson has mentioned the subject of retirement to at least one former teammate.
There are few wide receivers in NFL history as physically gifted as Calvin Johnson. And yet, the grind of the NFL can wear down even the most dynamic of athletes. It provides that much more perspective on the lengthy careers of some of the all-time great receivers. Current San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (well, hitting free agency in March) just completed his 13th season in the league, while Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith saw his 15th season cut short due to a season-ending injury. Smith planned on retiring after this season, but has said he will return for one more year. Boldin will be a free agent, but said he will continue playing in 2016.
And of course, we can also go to the guy all wide receivers aspire to: Jerry Rice. The G.O.A.T. played 20 seasons in the NFL, and set virtually every notable record in the books. His single season receiving yards record was broken by Calvin Johnson in 2012, and Julio Jones surpassed his total this year. His single season touchdown record was surpassed by Randy Moss in 2007. Moss finished with one more touchdown, but Rice set his record in only 12 games that year due to the player strike.
Calvin Johnson turned 30 this past September. Just to point out how ridiculous Jerry Rice's career was, you can look at his numbers after he turned 30. Those numbers include 1,000 receptions, 13,546 receiving yards, and 102 touchdowns. He would be tied with Hines Ward for tied for 12th in career receptions, No. 13 in receiving yards, and seventh in touchdowns. That's kind of ridiculous.
This is not to take away from Calvin Johnson's career. He is an insanely talented wide receiver. It just shows how hard it can be to last into your 30s in the NFL, and it gives us a better idea of how great players are that can continue excelling and staying healthy well into their 30s.
Full statement from Calvin and the Lions: pic.twitter.com/IjvSulYZzi— Tori Petry (@sportstori) January 6, 2016