In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg, former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson says the Lions asked him to "change [his] story" about a 2012 concussion.
Johnson says he suffered at least nine concussions during his nine-year career in Detroit and called it a "super conservative" estimate. He also opened up about how he got used to what concussions feel like.
"Bam, hit the ground real hard. I'm seeing stars; I can't see straight,” he says. “But I know in a couple minutes I'm gonna be fine. Because I've done that plenty of times before."
After a game against the Vikings in 2012, Johnson told reporters he suffered a concussion.
"Yeah, yeah, he knocked me good," Johnson said. "You could tell. It was obvious."
However, the Lions said he passed their concussion protocol and was cleared to go back into the game. Johnson later told the media he misused the terms "concussion" and "nerve damage," but told SI that he changed his comment because of the team.
"I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn't seeing straight," he says. "And they wanted me to change my story."
The Lions released a statement on Friday defending the medical staff's work to ensure player safety.
"We respect the privacy of individual players' medical situations and take great pride in the extensive work done by our medical staff and executive team to ensure we follow appropriate protocols with respect to player health and safety," the Lions said in a statement, per MLive.com. "The well-being of our players will continue to be an organizational priority."
Johnson, who retired from the NFL in 2016, discussed other aspects from his career including smoking weed after games, having to pay the Lions back around $1.6 million in bonus money and his retirement at the age of 30.