Calvin Johnson officially becomes a Hall of Famer on Sunday. He’s still mad at the only team he ever played for.
The retired wide receiver has remained at odds with the Detroit Lions since the team demanded he pay back a portion of his signing bonus after his shocking retirement in 2016. Johnson has refused to take part in official Lions’ events unless the team pays him the money back.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the team has submitted an official proposal to Johnson to end the stand-off in time before his enshrinement ceremony this weekend. Johnson was asked about the proposal during Hall of Fame festivities on Friday and reportedly didn’t sound impressed:
“I mean, it wasn’t what I paid back, put it like that.”
“So they’re not serious,” Johnson said. “That’s all.”
Johnson was reportedly forced to pay back $1.6 million after retiring, which doesn’t sound like enough money to be worth angering your best player of a generation (the team is on track to pay kicker Randy Bullock more this season), but the Lions will do what they want, apparently.
What the Lions offered Calvin Johnson
Per the Free Press, the Lions’ proposal was a three-year agreement that would pay him $500,000 annually for appearance fees, plus a one-time payment of $100,000 to the Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation. The deal would have obligated Johnson to 28 hours of appearances at various Lions events in his first year, including five hours at a game to induct his No. 81 into the Pride of the Lions.
Johnson would also have had to do activities including a training camp appearance and sponsor events. Basically, it sounds like the Lions offered Johnson a chance to work back that $1.6 million.
Not helping the Lions’ case was their reported decision to fire a friend of Johnson’s who had passed along internal documents regarding the proposal to the wide receiver’s camp, which makes sense from an operational security standpoint and less sense from a “reconcile with Calvin Johnson” standpoint.
It’s worth noting that Johnson hasn’t completely cut the Lions out of his life. He will reportedly attend a Hall of Fame party hosted by the team after his enshrinement and has met with new general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, who was once his teammate in Detroit. He also didn’t close the door on making up with the Lions, but it sounds like the team’s latest offer just isn’t going to do it.
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