Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Lions lasted shorter than he wanted it to.
Johnson played nine seasons in Detroit and was a three-time All-Pro selection and six-time Pro Bowl selection. He only appeared in the playoffs twice due to the Lions underperforming year after year, but he revealed Friday he was hoping his career would last longer than it did.
Johnson told WoodwardSports.com he wanted to leave the Lions but the organization blocked him.
“We asked would they release me or let me go to another team,” Johnson told the website. “They wouldn’t.”
He added: “You know what, it sucked that they didn’t let me go, but they let Matthew (Stafford) go, but hey, you know, it is what it is.”
Johnson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year. When he retired, “Megatron” was the Lions’ all-time leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619), and touchdowns (83). Johnson led the league in receiving yards twice, and he still owns the NFL single-season record with 1,964 yards in 2012.
He said in November he wished Detroit would have maximized their potential.
“It was unfortunate,” said Johnson on “All the Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. “You can’t help but have the feeling like we obviously didn’t maximize the talent that we had. And all anybody can do is point at themselves and say, ‘What could I have done better?’ I could have had, maybe, 2,000 yards or 1,500 yards one year, and that could have helped. Or maybe there was a ball that I could have, should have, caught.
“Just the simple fact that we didn’t maximize the talent. You got me on offense, you’ve got [Matt] Stafford, you got Ndamukong Suh on defense. You’ve got some beasts all around the team in key positions that you should be able to have a winning team. We just didn’t have the winning culture though. There’s a lot more than goes into it than having those key players.”
Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.