Calvin Johnson has been retired for a full year and the former superstar wide receiver for the Detroit Lions admitted recently that playing for the team was a big reason in his decision to retire from the National Football League.
Last year, when Johnson retired, he cited the beating he took during nine years as a wide out in the NFL as his reason for retiring from pro football.
However, while in Italy last week, Johnson become more candid about the fortunes or lack thereof, of the Lions being equally important in the decision he made to walk away from the sport.
Johnson was visiting Italy to present the Italian Bowl XXXVII game ball. The bowl is the championship game for American football in Italy. After he spoke about his decision to retire, reporters asked Johnson if he had ever considered changing teams.
He responded by saying that he had thought about that, just as top players switch teams in the NBA and other sports, but he did not have the freedom to just decide where he wanted to play.
He added that he signed a contract to play for the Lions and the team told him that they would not release him from his contract so he would have to return to play for them.
He said he did not see any chance the team would win the Super Bowl and for the amount of work he put in, it was not worth his time to continue taking a beating and not going to the Super Bowl.
He was asked if playing for Detroit was his reason for retiring and he said yes along with his body.
Johnson, who is 31, would only say last year when he retired that if Detroit had been more of a contender than it would have been more difficult to leave the team and retire.
During his successful career, Johnson was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, but only played twice in the postseason with Detroit in 2011 and 2014.
The comments made by Johnson in Italy came only two months after he said to a Detroit newspaper that he was not happy with the way he was treated by the Lions when he retired.
The team forced Johnson to repay $1 million of the signing bonus they gave him after he told them he would be retiring from football.