The Detroit Lions won't let Calvin Johnson retire without a fight. As the team waits for Johnson's final decision on his future, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Lions' coaches and staff are looking for a way to bring him back to the fold.
Johnson's contract complicates matters. The team would not be looking to bring him back at his current $15.95 million salary. Rapoport said the Lions will try to give Johnson a Larry Fitzgerald-like extension. Fitzgerald signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals before this season at a reduced salary with fully guaranteed salaries.
The signs are ominous for Johnson continuing to play football. Rapoport noted that Megatron personally called Lions owner Martha Ford and her daughters to thank them for everything. ESPN reported Sunday that Johnson had already told Lions coaches and friends at the end of the regular season that he planned to retire. In response, the Lions referred all media requests to their previous statement on the matter.
"We obviously have profound respect for Calvin and certainly understand and appreciate his decision to give proper thought and consideration to his football future," the Lions had said in a statement.
This latest series of stories regarding Johnson makes him sound even more likely to retire. But he was on the record after the season about potentially retiring, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. Wanting to quit in the immediate days after the season is a lot different than actually retiring. But it sure sounds as if the Lions will want some resolution in the coming weeks before free agency starts. The Lions will do what they can to entice him to keep playing.