In the past week, there have been significant Calvin Johnson NFL return rumors. Could the WR be looking at making a comeback, and would that comeback come with the Patriots?
Johnson, in a somewhat jealous manner last week, spoke about how top players in the NBA can create super teams, but that it’s just not that way in the NFL. For the first time since his retirement last year, he discussed at an event in Italy how if he had been part of a winning NFL organization that he might still be playing.
“Of course I thought about it,” Johnson said about switching NFL teams. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these super teams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom to just go.
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“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere.”
The Lions took umbrage with Megatron’s remarks and invited him to training camp this week. Johnson is still under contract with Detroit.
There is just too much bad blood for Johnson to return to the Lions. As Mike Florio pointed out at Pro Football Talk Wednesday, the Lions should do Johnson a solid by straight-up releasing him from the reserve/retired list. The model the Lions could use is what the Seahawks did with Marshawn Lynch. Seattle knew Lynch’s intentions of signing with the Raiders, and they wound up getting a late-round pick swap out of the deal.
Despite both Johnson and Lynch being the same age (31), Johnson would command a bit more of a return due to the impact he’d make with his new team. A future third or fourth round pick might get the job done on the Lions’ end of things.
As for which team Johnson would be interested in, and which team would be interested in him, the Patriots remain a perfect fit. New England is the NFL super team Johnson speaks of, and one of his best buddies in football – Nate Burleson – has already suggested that Foxboro should be Johnson’s next location of football employment.
“Congratulations on your retirement man,” Burleson wrote, as an analyst, for NFL.com last year. “Now, take this year off … then find a way to land with the Patriots and get a championship ring. You deserve it.”
Johnson was hanging out with Burleson this week at a football camp (see Johnson’s Instagram post below). Gotta think Burleson reiterated this sentiment given the recent buzz.