According to the report, Johnson told two of his teammates, Matthew Stafford and Stephen Tulloch, that he planned to retire before the season began due to soreness in his body. He shared the news with his family and close friends as well.
The Lions released a statement on Sunday neither confirming nor denying ESPN’s report, instead pointing back to the statement they made on Jan. 6 about Johnson’s status. In the previous statement, Johnson said he was evaluating his future and would make a decision on retirement in the “not-too-distant future.” The team wrote that it supported Johnson’s contemplation.
Johnson, 30, has spent his entire nine-year career in Detroit, leading the league in receiving twice and earning six trips to the Pro Bowl. He finishes his career with seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
During the 2012 season, Johnson set the NFL’s single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards. He sits 27th on the league’s all-time receiving list with 11,619 yards for his career.
- Kenny Ducey