Calvin Johnson Ripped the Detroit Lions for Allegedly Treating Him and Matthew Stafford Differently

Calvin Johnson has spent recent years holding his ground in a bitter feud with the Detroit Lions. Now, Matthew Stafford is involved by no fault of his own.

Stafford, who is now with the Rams, did not voluntarily enter the fray involving his ex-team and their retired star receiver. Instead, it was Johnson who, in a recent interview discussing his relationship with the Lions, threw his former team under the bus once again.

Calvin Johnson remains frustrated with the Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions teammates Calvin Johnson (81) and Matthew Stafford in 2013.
Legendary Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson blasted his former team for treating him and Matthew Stafford differently | Leon Halip/Getty Images

Even as he prepares to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Johnson still has the Lions on his mind.

In a recent interview with Woodward Sports, the eight-time Pro Bowl selection criticized the Lions for how they handled the end of his career. Johnson brought up how the Lions turned down his trade request yet worked with Stafford and found the former No. 1 overall pick a new home earlier this year.

Johnson explained how he and his agent asked the Lions to release or trade him following the 2015 season. The Lions refused, and their star receiver retired in the spring of 2016. Clearly, the events where the Lions heeded Stafford’s trade request and sent him to the Rams left his former teammate frustrated.

“You know what, it sucked that they didn’t let me go, but they let Matthew go, but hey, you know, it is what it is. I’m not mad at Matthew; I love Matthew.”

Calvin Johnson

Johnson said there are no positive updates on his relationship with the Lions. He took issue when the team asked him to return a reported $1.6 million of his signing bonus when he retired in 2016 and the two sides never made up.

“It would be nice if they try to resolve things, but that’s neither here nor there,” Johnson said. “I’m always here to support the players. That’s what it’s about. Supporting the players.”

Johnson said he is rooting for Stafford and the Rams

Johnson wanted it to be known he has no issue with Stafford, his teammate from 2009 through 2015, despite his feelings about the Lions’ front office.

The former All-Pro receiver said he recently spoke with Stafford and the two are in a good place. Johnson said the quarterback is happy in California and remains excited about his opportunity with the Rams.

“When he’s comfortable, he’s good where he’s at,” Johnson said about Stafford. “So you can only expect good things from him. I look forward to seeing him out there.”

Stafford and the Rams open the 2021 season against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, September 12. The Rams host the Lions, now quarterbacked by Jared Goff, on Sunday, October 24.

The Lions need to compromise and make up with Johnson

Johnson will enter the Hall of Fame in August 2021 because of everything he did on the Lions.

If the Lions’ new regime is smart, they’ll finally work to create a compromise with Johnson. There is no sense in an NFL franchise destroying a relationship with one of the greatest players in league history over less than $2 million.

Life is too short, and Johnson has placed the ball in the Lions’ corner. To this point, at least according to Johnson, the Lions have remained stubborn and don’t want to mend the relationship. However, whether or not the team will eventually try to seek that middle ground is another story.

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