LOS ANGELES: Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson continues to dispel any notion that he will attempt to return to the NFL.
“Megatron” retired in 2016 at the age of 30, and has been routinely asked over the past two-plus years if he is considering a return to football.
“I don’t want to play,” Johnson said when asked by TMZ Sports at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. “See these fingers, man? I ain’t trying to catch no more footballs.”
Johnson has never wavered on that stance, saying in January that he doesn’t miss playing football.
“I miss my teammates, for sure. I miss Coach Caldwell. I miss giving fans something to be excited about. I miss the competition,” Johnson wrote in a piece for The Players’ Tribune published on January 2. “But I can honestly say that I don’t miss playing.”
“I love football. But it became difficult to love the game as much when I was in some sort of pain every day. I never talked about it while I was playing because … what good would that do? It wouldn’t make me hurt any less. It would just sound like an excuse. And I hate making excuses. So I continued to play as best I could for as long as I could, which turned out to be nine years.”
Johnson announced his retirement from the league following the 2015 season. The then-30-year-old was still dominant in his final campaign, hauling in 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns and being named a Pro Bowler for the sixth time.
In his career, Johnson totaled 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns in 135 games. He played in all 16 of the Lions’ games in 2015 despite battling an ankle injury.
“There were days when I was elated because I was breaking records and making my family, friends and fans proud. But the more I played … even that pride couldn’t outweigh the pain I felt while shuffling my feet across the floor because I couldn’t bend my ankles,” Johnson wrote in January. “I didn’t want to worry about potentially being in too much pain to play with my son, you know?”
“And that’s not all. My fingers are all kinds of jacked up. My job was to play receiver. I got paid to catch the ball. But there was a point when every time the ball hit my fingers, they ached.”
“There were other aches and pains and things I don’t need to go into, but eventually, my body said to me, ‘I’m done.’”