The rumors have been circulating for months, but now it’s official: Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is retiring from the NFL at age 30.
“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football,” Johnson said, in a statement released Tuesday by the Lions.
Johnson’s early retirement is an enormous blow to the Lions. He played nine seasons, all in Detroit, recording 731 career receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.
According to Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press, Johnson gave the Lions “nine Hall of Fame-caliber seasons” and “goes down as the best receiver in franchise history.”
Benjamin Morris at fivethirtyeight.com crunched some numbers and concluded that Johnson might be walking away at more or less the top of his game. “Retirements by receivers still producing at a level as high as Johnson are almost nonexistent,” Morris writes.
However, as an “over the middle” receiver, the 6’5” Johnson was battered even more than the average NFL player, and plagued by repeated injuries.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision,” Johnson said. “As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.”