After nine seasons of playing at the game’s highest level, many in and around the NFL world were caught off-guard when Johnson announced he was retiring from the game after the 2015 season.
The shock was felt because at age 30, and coming off another stellar season in which he gained over 1,200 yards, he still seemed to have so much gas left in the tank.
In a new interview with the Detroit Free-Press Johnson finally explained his reasoning for walking away from the game…
Johnson, who announced his retirement in a lengthy statement released by the Detroit Lions just before the start of free agency, said in his first public comments since that decision that the wear and tear of the game drove him from football and he has no plans to return.
“I’m not coming back,” the 30-year-old Johnson said. “You ain’t got to worry about that.”
“I know everybody wants to know why I retired, but it’s more so, I put a lot into the game and it’s taken a lot out of me and that’s where I’m at right now,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to get into the specifics of the things that I feel it’s taken away, but it definitely feels good, I guess I can say for myself, to spend more time around the family, my son, I just got married. So things are going good right now.”
Johnson underwent finger and knee surgeries after the 2013 season and barely practiced at times the last two years because of a nagging ankle injury.
He said those injuries helped him decide before last season that it was time to call it a career.
“My finger’s jacked,” Johnson said. “I mean, I’m beat up. After you play that long you’re going to be beat up so it’s just a time where you are content with what you did and I’m content with what I did so far.”
Johnson who ended his career with 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 receiving TDs said that he actually considered retiring after the 2014 season, but felt his body had one more year to give.
As for whether all the losing in Detroit played a part in his decision?
“Nah,” he said. “Simply – I wouldn’t just quit because we were losing. It was just body. I was just tired of it, fed up. Just had enough.”
So now we know and from what he reveals, it’s pretty hard to argue with the man’s decision. Unless you root for Detroit, of course.
Related: What Does Calvin Johnson’s Retirement Mean for the Future of the NFL?