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Lions sign WR Calvin Johnson to $64 million, 6-year deal, ending his holdout

DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Lions did what it took to get Calvin Johnson on the field.

Detroit gave the wide receiver a six-year deal worth up to $64 million, a person with knowledge of the contract details told The Associated Press on Friday, with just under $27.2 million in guaranteed money.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because both sides agreed to not divulge the finances of the contract, said the deal guarantees Johnson's salary in each season and will likely be worth $55.5 million by the middle of his rookie year because of easily triggered bonuses.

Johnson knew exactly why he became very wealthy. Moments after signing in the morning, ending an eight-day holdout, he found himself on the first team during a 2-minute drill.

"I wasn't surprised," Johnson said. "I was expecting to be out there with the first team.

"That's why they picked me at No. 2."

Johnson was relieved his long wait to join his teammates was over.

"I had tried to stay patient at the beginning of this, but the last few days have been nerve-racking," he said. "I'm just glad that I'm out here playing football again, not worrying about the contract."

Johnson's arrival came at a perfect time for the Lions, just in time for their first public workout.

"We choreographed that pretty well, didn't we?" joked Lions chief operating officer Tom Lewand.

A large cheer was heard when the 500 fans in attendance realized Johnson was on the field, and more applause followed every catch he made.

"I thought today went pretty well," Johnson said before signing autographs. "I made some mistakes, but I was able to retain a lot of what I picked up in (offseason team activities)."

Johnson was regarded by some as the best player in the draft after catching 78 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns during his All-America junior season at Georgia Tech. He won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top college receiver.

The Lions, 3-13 last season, made Johnson the fourth receiver in five years they've taken with their first pick. Detroit is an NFL-low 24-72 since team president Matt Millen was hired to run the front office in 2001.

Johnson, Roy Williams and Mike Furrey are expected to give the Lions a triple-threat receiving corps.

"I have a very good feeling about this group," coach Rod Marinelli said. "We've got some very special players on this field."

Furrey and Williams are equally confident after working with Johnson during offseason practices.

"No one is going to be able to stop us when we are all out on the field," Furrey said. "People are excited about Calvin, but they don't even know what they've got yet. He's going to be one of the top receivers in the league in a couple years."

Marinelli also expects Johnson to affect Detroit's rushing attack.

"When we have those three men on the field, and especially when we add Shaun McDonald as a fourth receiver, it is going to force defenses to spread themselves wide," he said. "That's going to open up a lot of room for Tatum Bell or Kevin Jones."

Notes: To make room for Johnson on the roster, the Lions placed second-round pick QB Drew Stanton on injured reserve with a knee injury - ending his season. "It's disappointing, but the decision is out of my hands," the former Michigan State star said. ... McDonald sat out most of the morning practice with an ice pack on his left knee, but said he was OK.

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) makes a deep catch as Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Kyzir White (44) trails on the play during an NFL football game , Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif.

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