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Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

It's almost old news at this point, but Calvin Johnson has now made it official, announcing his retirement via a statement on the Detroit Lions' website. He did not offer an explanation, only thanking the Lions and their fans for their support.

Johnson led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2008, in receiving yardage in 2011, and in receptions and yardage (the latter an all-time record of 1,964) in 2012. He finished in the top ten in receptions just twice, but in the top ten for yardage six time and for touchdowns four times. Since he was drafted in 2007, he ranks seventh with 731 catches, but first in yardage (11,619) touchdowns (83), and 100-yard games (46).

He always got a ton of targets in Detroit's high-volume passing game, and so his advanced stats aren't quite as dominant -- he was seventh in DVOA in 2011, his only season in the top ten in that category. But he led the league in DYAR twice and finished in the top ten six times, leading the league in both 2011 and 2012, and finishing eighth last season.

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40 comments, Last at 13 Mar 2016, 7:07am

1 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I asked in the last thread and never got a specific #.

how much does this change the Franchise tag?

The standard is the standard!

3 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I have a strange soft corner for calvin. At his peak, he was the best overall receiver ive seen. Moss' deep abilitoes probably made him a scarier receiver to defend, but no one had as complete a skillset as Cj imo.

4 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

As a Packers fan, I'm a little relieved that he retired. But overall I'm still sad. Megatron was one player who always demanded double coverage - and that was sometimes not enough. He also seemed to be a class guy adn never a hint of scandal. He did his job and was arguably the best of his time.

5 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Just curious - How many of these people will be first year HoF in five years?

Peyton Manning
Calvin Johnson
Jared Allen
Charles Woodson
Marshawn Lynch

I'm guessing PM and maybe Woodson. Wouldn't be surprised to all five in Canton one day.

9 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Looking it over, thats a really really strong class. To me: PM Woodson and Allen are absolute no brainers. I don't get what case against Allen remains: line up any film you want and you will see a two way player that was as dominant as any defensive end of his era.

Calvin will probably wait but I could see him eventually getting in. Lack of career totals and era will hurt him, but no question he was a dominant receiver for at least 6 years. And dominant doesn't do it justice. He was transcendent.

I think the nfl landscape for running backs has changed. The modern nfl game is not about rushing and if it is, its about limiting carries and lots of receiving ability. If you can't pass block in this league, you are toast. And teams are leery of letting rbs hang around long enough to accrue totals. Given that, Lynch to me is a hall of famer. His numbers are depressed because of the era he played in; but he was arguably one of the best backs in the nfl for at least 4-5 years and a terrific back in the playoffs(where those carries do accumulate and add to the treadware).

I believe all 5 are hall of famers that would be deserving.

11 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Manning obvious 1st ballot.

Woodson, I think will be 1stB too as he and Peyton came into the league together so there's a good symmetry and story there. Think Woodson has finished as something like 4th all-time on ints.

Johnson and Allen will wait a year or two.

Lynch might make it in as an Old Timer circa 2040. I'd say Terrell Davis has a better case than Lynch and I'm not sure he'll ever make it in.

13 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Did Woodson ever intercept Manning while he was in Oakland? Because if he did, they can just different parts of the same clip in the highlight reel.

Think of the savings!

More seriously, I kind of hoped Woodson and Brady would have retired in the same year.

14 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Intercepted him twice in their first(?) game this season.

It was a big talking point going into the game because CW had never intercepted PM until then. Wait 17 years and then two interceptions come along in one game.

(Let's not forget that Woodson got the Heisman over Peyton in 1997)

15 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Did Steve Smith retire this year? Because I think Steve Smith should go in before Calvin Johnson.

Manning - definitely goes in on the first try
Woodson - should go in on the first try, but who knows with these voters?
Allen - also should go in on the first try, but even less likely than Woodson
Smith - deserves to go in, but will probably wait a few years if he makes it at all.
Johnson - will probably go in before Smith, much to my consternation

16 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Let's try to break it down. Who retired between 2011 and 2014? I don't know how to search for this on PFR, so these are just the guys off the top of my head:

LaDainian Tomlinson (2011)
Brian Dawkins (2011)
Brian Urlacher (2012)
Ed Reed (2013)
Champ Bailey (2013)
Troy Polamalu (2014)

I know I'm missing a lot of people, but all of them seem like no-brainers for getting in, and most within the first 2-3 years.

2016 Finalists not inducted: Morton Anderson, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terell Davis, Allen Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Terrell Owens, Kurt Warner.

Owens and Warner are almost certain to get in before then - heck, I'd bet on next year. I can't lay a guess on how many of the other 8 will still be there, but Allen and Woodson both deserve to go in first.

19 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Out of that list, I think LT, Reed and Champ are close to locks to be 1st ballor.

Urlacher will probably still be on the ballot when this year's retiree group comes up. Maybe Dawkins. I have a feelign Polamalu will wait a year or two also.

As for this year's group of 5 (not to mention last year we had Willis), I think Manning is a lock and Woodson is close. Jared Allen and Calvin will wait 3-4 years. Lynch may not get in as I don't know how the memory of his 'Beastmode' Seattle era will age 4-5 years from now.

20 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

For guys with at least a vague shot at the Hall of Fame, add:

Jason Taylor (2011)
Hines Ward (2011)
James Farrior (2011)
Ray Lewis (2012)
Randy Moss (2012)
Ronde Barber (2012)
Steve Hutchinson (2012)
Richard Seymour (2012)
Jeff Saturday (2012)
Tony Gonzalez (2013)
London Fletcher (2013)
Reggie Wayne (2014) [was in Patriots training camp for 2015, but wasn't on a roster for regular season]
Justin Smith (2014)
John Abraham (2014)

I'd consider Lewis, Moss, and Gonzalez locks.

24 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I'm not knocking Saturday, but Matt Birk was a better center, and it is obscured by the fact that Saturday snapped the ball to one of the greatest qbs ever, ceratinly in the top 5, and Birk snapped the ball to a collection of stiffs for about a third of his career, and to a HOF caliber qb for only 1 season.

25 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I agree on Birk, but I think the voters have already forgotten about him. These are my predictions based on how I think the voters will decide, not what I think the candidates deserve.

In Like Flynn (1st-2nd years): Tomlinson (2011), Lewis (2012), Moss (2012), Bailey (2013), Gonzalez (2013), Reed (2013), Polamalu (2014)

In A Jiffy (3rd-5th years): Taylor (2011), Dawkins (2011), Barber (2012), Urlacher (2012),

In A While (6+ years): Hutchinson (2012), Saturday (2012), Justin Smith (2014), Wayne (2014)

In Their Dreams: Ward (2011), Farrior (2011), Birk (2012), Seymour (2012), Fletcher (2013), Abraham (2014)

Given the backlog, I think Manning and Woodson go in right away, Allen waits. 2013 also has three very strong candidates.

26 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I find it odd that you wrote a pretty long post and I think I agree with every bit of it. Only quibble is there's a decided lack of safeties in the HOF, and Reed/Polamalu bumps up against the 3-5 year "In A JiffY" for Dawkins. That's a bunch of safeties in a short period of time, and that has to be the most forgotten position outside of maybe guard and special teamers, right?

29 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

You find it odd that you agree with me? I'm really not sure how I should take that...

Anyway, I think Dawkins is criminally underrated as a safety because he doesn't have as many of those crazy athletic highlight reel plays Reed & Polamalu are known for, but in many ways he was a better safety. He was a much more disciplined player, and he was never the kind of liability Polamalu was at the end of his career (when he lost the athleticism that let him gamble so often). Anyway, I think that's why Dawkins is going to wait, even though I consider him on par with the other two.

31 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I think Dawkins is properly regarded as a really good conventional strong safety. Reed was a really good free safety, which is a sexier position because of the ability to roam in center field and make interceptions. Polamalu was sui generis, between his incredible athleticism and the latitude his coaches gave him to free-lance. The latter two will get into the Hall; Dawkins depends on how willing the selectors are to put in a conventional strong safety ahead of some of the other guys they'll be considering.

30 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Of players retired but not eligible yet:

1st ballot: Tomlinson, Reed, Lewis, Manning, Gonzalez
Wait a couple years, gets in: Dawkins, Urlacher, Polamalu, Moss, C. Bailey, J. Allen, C. Woodson
Wait a while but gets in: R. Barber, Seymour, Wayne, C. Johnson, Willis, Hutchinson
Wait a long time, might not get in: Ward, Abraham, Mankins, L. Briggs
Won't get in: M. Lynch, Fletcher, Farrior, Saturday, J. Smith, Birk, B. Waters, J. Hanson, Kreutz, J. Porter

21 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Mostly due to lack of a better place to post this, Matt Hasselbeck announced his retirement. Not HoF, but a very good QB for a long time.

34 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

I'll post my semiannual gripe about the HOF's narrow five-man doorway. I'm not entirely sure what any HOF exists, but I suspect its purpose is to connect fans of all generations to the game.
Today's league size and media breadth/depth really demand a bigger annual allotment or a lot of fans will feel excluded--guys they worshipped and rooted for like made for a decade will never make it (or not for a few decades, by the end fans will be gone or embittered).
I'm thinking guys like Birk, John Lynch, Edgerrin James, Saturday, Hutchinson, Faneca, Steve Atwater... These are deserving guys in my mind who are really up against a couple decades of battling the backlog. If I had to bet, I'd say they never get in unless the annual door gets bigger (or the HOF has a one-year jailbreak to clear the backlog).

35 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

Good point. Though of the players you mentioned, am thinking only Matt Birk and Jeff Saturday will be left behind, mainly because the HoF voters are historically very tough on centers. Edgerrin James will wait a while, but the fact that he broke the 12K yard mark and has some solid peak years should be good enough. Alan Fameca (6/9/00s) and Steve Hutchinson (6/7/00s) have really strong postseason honors too good for the voters to ignore, and they should get in after a couple years wait. And John Lynch (3/9/none) just made the cut to the final 10 this time around and is primed to be elected this year, while Steve Atwater (2/8/90s) just made the finals list this year and my guess is he's the next safety in line -- had Atwater still not made the finals, I'd have agreed he might fall into the Senior pool, but given that Brian Dawkins probably won't be first ballot, they'll probably vote in the safeties in a seniority based fashion. But other deserving players whose eligibility is about up, like Sterling Sharpe, Mike Kenn and Karl Mecklenburg might suffer the fate you mentioned, as may Sam Mills, Nick Lowery, Henry Ellard, Albert Lewis, Steve Wisniewski, Leroy Butler, Darren Woodson, Tony Boselli, Gary Anderson, and Bryant Young down the road.

39 Re: Calvin Johnson Officially Retires

As a jaguar fan, Jimmy Smith's omission bothers me more than Boselli's, but it bothers me more that Edge James has as likely a case as Terrell Davis. Generally, I'd be okay with Edge getting in, he was a great running back, but the Hall's preference for career over peak value compilers over stars is really stupid