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Lynn Swann: Not sure Calvin Johnson is a Hall of Famer


As Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson contemplates retirement, many around him are contemplating his legacy as a wide receiver.

Johnson is currently sixth all-time among active receivers in terms of yards. He's third in touchdowns behind only Antonio Gates and Larry Fitzgerald. Including inactive players, Johnson is 27th in yards and 22nd in touchdowns. But is he a Hall of Fame caliber player? Lynn Swann doesn't think so.


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"I would think that it would be difficult for Calvin Johnson at this point to be considered a Hall of Famer," the legendary Steelers wideout told The Detroit News. "Calvin Johnson has an extreme amount of talent and ability, but when you start to look at his team, the success of his team and did he lift that team; he made them a little bit better, but at the end of the day, I'm not quite sure."

Swann's base point -- that Johnson may not get in -- isn't outrageous. There are plenty of receivers in front of Johnson in both yards and touchdowns who have yet to make the Hall, including Jimmy Smith, Torry Holt, Henry Ellard and Terrell Owens. Owens, who is second all-time in receiving yards and third all-time in touchdowns -- behind only Jerry Rice and Randy Moss! -- was an egregious whiff by the Hall of Fame in 2016.

Swann has 6,107 fewer receiving yards than Johnson and 32 fewer touchdowns. So while we would have to take him seriously on the numbers aspect, his insistence on leaning into Pittsburgh's dynasty of the time doesn't help move the conversation forward.

Of course, this isn't really Johnson's main concern. According to teammates, the 30 year old is hurting. His massive frame has aided him in setting records and compiling a stretch in his prime where he was the most dominant receiver in football. But it's also left him open to countless shots.

"His body just isn't holding up," Golden Tate recently told "With his body type, and how he plays the game, he plays at a high level all the time for a bunch of years."

The Hall of Fame is supposed to consider more than just blind stats, and the team success argument alone is weak. Johnson played on some awful Lions teams over the years and redefined what it meant to be a big-body receiver. His contributions off the field are also stellar and could work in his favor.

Without knowing what's next for Johnson, it's impossible to tell if he'll get a boost from a post-career in football or if he'll change his mind after a year of healing and come back. Maybe it's just too early to think about.


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