The Curious Case of Calvin Johnson

The Curious Case of Calvin Johnson

Megatron. Number 81. 6'5, 239 pounds. Possibly the greatest athlete that Georgia Tech University has ever seen…in any sport…ever. The Detroit Lions’ number two draft pick of the 2007 NFL draft…The all-time record holder for receiving yards in a single season…Now that you know at least some of the resume, maybe you can understand why star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is retiring, is such a big deal.

After only 9 years in the NFL, Detroit Lions wide receiver and superstar Calvin Johnson is calling it quits. This comes as a gut check for a franchise still living in the stigma as an organization unable to hold on to their most prized athletes (Google Barry Sanders). Only his family, head coach Jim Caldwell, quarterback Matt Stafford, and a handful of close inner circle types, were privy to the knowledge of Johnson’s retirement; a fact that was presented before the 2016 season actually begin.

On the coat tails of such an educational and eye-opening film, Concussion, many NFL players have decided to rethink their careers as modern-day gladiators. According to, since 2015 at least four players (Patrick Willis — 30, Jack Locker — 26, Jason Worilds — 27, Chris Borland — 24) 30 years old and under have retired “early” (or earlier than expected for their careers). But here’s the kicker…their combined salaries were a whopping $33,200,000! Add former New England Patriots’ linebacker Jerod Mayo and Green Bay Packers’ defensive tackle B.J. Raji to the 2016 list of defectors from the NFL, and one is presented with many curious cases surrounding the United States’ biggest sports cash cow.

What possibly can detour a superstar’s desire to make millions of dollars, revel in fame, and to possibly be immortalized in the Hall of Fame, playing America’s number one sport?

Is it safe to assume that in the wake of such alarming CTE research, and the NFL’s admittance that this condition is brought about from playing football, young men that have grown up playing football are now dedicating themselves to…well themselves. And in a way that is surprisingly uncelebrated. Not the proverbial car collection, or 30-room mansion…Or even worse, bankruptcy after a brief stint on multiple NFL teams…These young men have decided to invest in the business of themselves. In the information age where self-preservation knowledge is available, some of our biggest heroes have used their powers for the good of their families, and their futures. Before allowing football to control them, they have decided to control football…and that is refreshing, to say the least.

I guess that it’s not such a curious case after all.