Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who for the past nine seasons established himself as one of the greatest wide receivers in National Football League history, today announced his retirement from the NFL effective immediately.
Johnson also filed his retirement papers with the NFL today in advance of the new League year which begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 9.
The Lions also announced, with respect to Johnson’s contract, that those “matters were settled to the satisfaction of the parties.”
THE CAREER OF CALVIN JOHNSON
Johnson’s unique combination of size, speed and strength elevated him to one of the League’s all-time greats.
After the Lions drafted Johnson with the second pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, he went on to set every significant career Lions receiving record. He retires as the team’s career leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619), receiving touchdowns (83) and most 100-yard receiving games (46). He also set a team record by recording a reception in the most consecutive games (135), which includes every game he played with the Lions.
Johnson is the only player in team history to reach 700 receptions, 10,000 receiving yards and 70 receiving touchdowns. His 84 total touchdowns, which includes one rushing touchdown, are the second-most in team history.
The six-time Pro Bowl and three-time AP first team All-Pro selection owns the NFL Record for most receiving yards in a season (1,964 in 2012) after shattering Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 yards set in 1988.
Johnson is the only player in the Super Bowl era (since 1967) to average 120 yards per game in a season when he averaged 122.8 yards per game in 2012.
Johnson holds the all-time record for the highest average yards per game in NFL history (86.1). He also is tied with Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth for the most 200-yard games in NFL history with five, and he has the most 200-yard games (6) in both regular season and postseason games.
It took Johnson fewer games to reach 10,000 (115) and 11,000 (127) yards than any player in NFL history.
From 2011-13, Johnson accumulated 5,137 yards and became the only player in NFL history to gain 5,000 receiving yards over the three-year span. Johnson averaged 111.7 yards per game in the 46 games played those three seasons, and he also compiled at least 105 -yard average in each of those three seasons. His 3,645 yards gained in 2012-2013 is also an NFL record over a two-year span.
Only Johnson and Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth ever averaged 100 yards per game over spans of 60, 70 and 75 games.
From the time he entered the NFL in 2007, he caught more touchdowns (83) and gained more yards (11,619) than any other player through 2015.
Among the franchise’s single-season records, Johnson holds four of the seven best totals in receiving yards, including 1,964 in 2012 (1st), 1,681 in 2011 (3rd), 1,494 in 2013 (4th) and 1,331 in 2008 (tied for 7th). Of the franchise’s eight best seasons in receiving touchdowns, he owns four of those Top-8 (team record 16 in 2011, 12 in 2008, 2010 and 2013).
Johnson’s most prolific game in his career occurred against the Dallas Cowboys October 27, 2013 when he caught 14 passes for a team record 329 yards, which ranks as the second highest-single game total in NFL history and the most by a receiver in a non-overtime game. In his playoff debut, Johnson recorded 211 receiving yards at New Orleans January 7, 2012 and set a new team single-game postseason record.
Over nine seasons, fans around the world tuned to watch Johnson play in the Lions annual Thanksgiving Day game, and he did not disappoint. In nine Thanksgiving Day games, he caught 11 touchdowns, which is the most ever by a player on Thanksgiving in NFL history. He caught a touchdown in each of his last seven Thanksgiving Day games. This past season, he tied a career single-game high of three touchdown catches against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Johnson was voted by his teammates as the Bobby Layne Offensive MVP Award for six-straight seasons (2008-13). He was twice awarded the NFC Offensive Player of the Month Award (November 2012, October 2013) and earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week four times.
Not only did Johnson achieve on the field, but his community involvement and charity work earned him League-wide respect from players and coaches alike.
Johnson has served the communities of Detroit and Atlanta, his hometown, through the Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation. Since 2008, CJJF has dedicated its service to the education, training, and social development of at-risk youth, along with providing financial assistance to community organizations. Among the numerous programs includes: providing scholarship awards and books to deserving student-athletes, offering free youth football camps, feeding countless needy families, sponsoring drives to supply holiday gifts and personal care packages to homeless children and children of incarcerated women and participating in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to raise awareness and money to find cures and support programs and services for those facing the disease.
In addition to his foundation, Johnson supported Detroit Lions community efforts throughout his career and often supported numerous community initiatives led by fellow teammates.
Johnson was named a finalist for the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award in both years (2014, 2015) since its inception.
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