Peyton Manning announced his retirement last Monday and today, another NFL legend, Calvin Johnson decided to hang up his boots. Johnson retires at the age of 30, the same as former Detroit Lions legend, Barry Sanders.
Sanders, like Calvin Johnson also exited from the league scenario when he was 30-year-old in 1999, not having tasted the NFL crown. Since joining the Lions in 2007 as the number 2 overall pick, Johnson produced the highest number of 100 yards game as a receiver. He shattered Jerry Rice’s single season record by notching up 1,964 receiving yards in 2012, a rare achievement in the league.
His average is staggering too. 86.1 yards per game in his 134-game career, the best in the business for any receiver who has featured in at least 100 games. But Johnson, like Sanders had to leave the arena without having won the title. The decision to retire was triggered by fitness issues. His famous acrobatics came in flashes in the last season as Johnson hit a career-low 13.8 yards per catch in his final season, according to the USA Today. Johnson was no longer the Megatron he had been throughout his illustrious career.
Johnson had to battle ankle and knee injuries. In recent years, the injuries took such a toll on his body that Johnson told his family and selected team-mates that he wants to quit at the end of this season. His mind was prepared a long time ago. He took the past few weeks only to confirm his decision to retire.
“The fan in me wants to see him play forever,” Johnson’s former team-mate Nate Burleson, now an analyst for the NFL Network, told said about the best receiver of NFL. “But … it’s difficult to keep carrying a team on your back, year after year, when your body is beat up and it takes more and more time to recover.” Johnson announced his retirement in a statement published on the club website.