Johnson insisted that his playing career is over and he will not come out of retirement, Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com reports. "I'm not coming back," Johnson said Friday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I'm enjoying my time off. I'm enjoying things I couldn't do when I was playing."
Johnson's rights are still owned by the Lions and it's reported that the relationship between the franchise and receiver was irreparably damaged when Detroit demanded that Johnson return part of his signing bonus following his 2016 retirement. Although there seemed to be a sliver of hope that he might resume his playing career after Johnson was reported to have a number of suitors during the 2017 season that were interested in acquiring his rights via trade, nothing ever came to fruition. It's safe to say that the legendary wideout has officially hung up the cleats for good.
Two teams have spoken to the Lions about potentially trading for Johnson's NFL rights, ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reports.
The Lions told the interested teams to speak directly with Johnson, who hasn't publicly expressed any desire to come out of retirement. It seems like an extreme long shot, but the 32-year-old might give it a bit of thought if he could get a nice payday from a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Johnson isn't believed to be on good terms with the Detroit organization and presumably has no interest in rejoining the only team he's ever played for. He probably would've come out of retirement over the summer if he had any real interest in playing.
Johnson reiterated Saturday that he plans to remain retired as an NFL player, NFL.com reports. "No. I'm not coming back," noted Johnson, who announced his plans to call it a career after the 2015 season.
Obviously no one player can replace a talent like Johnson, and with that in mind the Lions approach training camp with a wideout corps headed by Golden Tate and free agent acquisition Marvin Jones, with TJ Jones and Jeremy Kerley likely jostling for the team's No. 3 wideout role. In his final season with the Lions, Johnson -- who turns 31 in September -- caught 88 passes for 1,214 yard and nine TDs.
Johnson filed retirement papers Tuesday and officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
Johnson was said to be leaning strongly in this direction, but the Lions held out some hope that they could coax another year out of him. Despite dealing with constant nagging injuries over the past few seasons, Johnson finishes his nine-year career with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns, having missed just nine games along the way. He averaged at least 70 receiving yards per game in every year besides his rookie campaign, most notably setting an NFL single-season record with his 1,964 yards in 2012. There will probably be comeback rumors at some point in the next few years, as Johnson turns 31 in September and just posted a 88-1,214-9 receiving line in 2015.
Lions President Rod Wood said Johnson hasn't yet made a final decision on retirement, Mike O'Hara of the team's official website reports.
Previous reports suggested that Johnson was strongly leaning toward retirement, but with the superstar wide receiver yet to make an official announcement one way or the other, the Lions are still hoping to coax another season or two out of him. The team likely wants him to negotiate new contract terms, but it seems they'll give Johnson as much time as he needs to make a final decision.
The Lions will do everything in their power to convince Johnson to continue playing, NFL.com reports.
In the wake of Sunday's news that Johnson intends to retire, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network relayed Monday that the wideout has personally called owner Martha Ford in order "to thank them for everything." While the Lions have noted "profound respect" for Johnson and will give him time to make a decision, Rapoport released another bombshell Monday, stating Johnson wouldn't return on his 2016 salary of $15.95 million, but rather would be offered a two-year contract with reduced cap figures similar to the one signed by Larry Fitzgerald last offseason. However, because Johnson has dealt with serious ankle injuries and general body soreness the last few seasons, the Lions' potential offer of a multi-year deal likely isn't an appealing one.
Johnson intends to retire from the NFL, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Johnson shared his thought process with head coach Jim Caldwell, who urged the wideout to take his time with the decision. After tending to ankle issues throughout his career -- but more specifically over the past two campaigns -- Johnson has also dealt with increased general soreness in his body. In a statement made through the Lions' organization on Jan. 6, he stated that the call would be confirmed, one way or another, in the "not-too-distant future," but he required less than a month to uphold his desire. Once he files the proper paperwork, he'll conclude his career with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns in 135 games, including the second-most receiving yards per game (86.1) of any player in NFL history.
Johnson's agent Bus Cook told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that the wide receiver doesn't have a timetable regarding his decision to play next season.
In a statement three weeks ago, Johnson relayed that a decision would be made in the "not-so-distant future." Because Cook clients have dabbled in the will-he-or-won't-he act in the past -- see, Brett Favre -- Johnson could very well take his time. Fortunately for the Lions' new general manager Bob Quinn, the final call won't come out of the blue, meaning all contingency plans should be in place. In the event Johnson isn't donning Honolulu blue and silver in the fall, Golden Tate would become the nominal No. 1 wideout in Detroit.
Johnson reeled in 88 of 150 targets for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2015 season.
Johnson battled back for a solid rebound from 2014's injury hampered season, leaning heavily on a final six games of the season during which he scored six touchdowns. Still, Johnson was never quite his dominant self, topping 100 yards just twice, and he had a three-game stretch from Weeks 13 through 15 during which he caught only five passes. The big story around Johnson at the moment is whether he will choose to retire. Even if he chooses not to, it would be a shock if he remains in Detroit on his current salary - creating a lot of uncertainty ahead of 2016.
Johnson released a statement Wednesday in which he said, "Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future."
Once rumors began to swirl, flashes to Barry Sanders in 1999 immediately entered the mind, though the preeminent Lions legend made his decision on the eve of training camp. If Johnson makes the call to step away in the near future, the Lions' new management structure will have the entire offseason to plan for the future, with free agency and the draft available to begin that process. While the passing attack as a whole would suffer, Golden Tate would become the unquestioned No. 1 option for Matthew Stafford in the absence of Johnson.
Johnson hauled in 10 passes from 15 targets for 137 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over Detroit.
Johnson layed out for a 36-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, potentially his final score as a Lion. If this was Johnson's final game in silver and blue, he found a way to turn back the clock to mark the occasion. Johnson tied a season high in catches, topped 100 yards for just the second time of the season and reeled in three catches of 20 or more yards in the Lions' win. It will be interesting to see what kind of pay cut Johnson might be willing to take to stay in Detroit and whether the team, under a new general manager, will be interested.
Johnson (ankle) is listed as active Sunday in Chicago, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Operating under a management program of his ankle for the better part of the season, Johnson was contained to just one limited session in Week 17. In reality, he requires very few, if any, practice reps to be activated on game day, and with a Bears defense on the docket that he torched for a season-high 166 yards and one touchdown in Week 6, he's a great bet to round out the campaign in top form.
Johnson (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
The report suggests that Johnson is expected to play in the Lions' season finale, a notion echoed by ESPN's Michael Rothstein, but it's still worth tracking the wideout's status in advance of Sunday's 1:00 ET kickoff, considering that he was held out of Friday's practice.
Johnson (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity Thursday, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Substantiating his claim that there's "no doubt" he'll play Sunday at Chicago, Johnson followed up a DNP on Wednesday with individual drills Thursday. With the path laid for active status in Week 17, he may not receive a favorable game-day designation on Friday's injury report, but there doesn't appear to be much question regarding his availability.
Johnson (ankle) was a non-participant at Wednesday's practice but intends to play Sunday at Chicago, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. "Yeah, I'm not going to sit just because," Johnson said. "It's usually something bugging me, if I'm not in the game it's something that won't allow me to play for the most part. So, I look forward to playing Sunday, no doubt about it."
Johnson's practice reps have been managed for months, yet he's in no danger of missing his first game of the season. Bouncing back from a dry two-week stretch in which he posted two catches for 35 yards on six targets, he responded with six receptions (on 10 targets) for 77 yards and a touchdown this past Sunday against the 49ers.
Johnson snagged six passes off of 10 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the 49ers.
Johnson got back on track in Sunday's game, seeing 10 targets after having just six passes came his way in the Lions' previous two contests combined. It was the sixth time this season that Johnson's targets reached double digits. Johnson has had his ups and downs this season - including just three scores in his first 10 games. With a quick slant in the fourth quarter, however, Johnson has now scored five times in the past five games and gets a middle-of-the-road Bears pass defense that he tallied 166 yards against in Week 6 in what could be his final game as a Lion in the season finale.
Johnson (ankle) is listed as active Sunday against the 49ers, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Over the last two games, Johnson has amassed six total targets, which he surpassed in every contest but Week 1 prior to the current dry spell. Throughout his career, he's generally shrugged off injuries to post favorable lines, so perhaps his balky ankle is more serious than he's letting on, or father time is catching up to him. With Golden Tate tearing it up since the Lions' Week 9 bye, Johnson may be presented with lax coverage schemes, but the 49ers have locked up vaunted Arizona, Chicago, and Cincinnati wideouts in the last four games, allowing 14.6 YPC but no touchdowns during that run.
Johnson (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers, NFL.com reports.
Johnson was limited at each practice session this week, which leaves his status in question for Week 16. A final call on Johnson's status will not be made until Sunday, but he has frequently been listed as questionable this year and has not missed a game, so fantasy owners should be able to count on him taking the field against the 49ers.
Johnson (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Coming off back-to-back one-catch outings, Johnson will continue his maintenance program to ensure he's ready for Sunday's tilt against the 49ers, who have held wide receivers out of the end zone for four games in a row.
Johnson caught his lone target for a 19-yard gain in Monday's win over the Saints.
Make it back to back games in which Johnson has been limited to a single catch, a two-game stretch that Johnson hadn't before experienced in his professional or collegiate career. Johnson has been nursing a sore ankle recently, but it's not as if he's been sitting on the bench. Johnson has been on the field for 120 of Detroit's 125 offensive plays over the past two weeks, according to Pro Football Focus, and has been targeted just six times. While the veteran may have pumped fantasy owners up with four total touchdowns in the two weeks prior to this stretch, his current role in Detroit's offense makes him a dangerous start.