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Despite Feud, Calvin Johnson Should Thank Detroit Lions

Like Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson may not thank the Detroit Lions during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

Being the bigger person is challenging. 

Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is set to deliver one of the most important speeches of his life when he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks.

After speaking to reporters last week, everyone was again reminded of the unfortunate feud that has lingered between Johnson and the Lions organization, stemming from the star wideout being asked to return a portion of his signing bonus back in 2016.

“It only matters really, I guess, when you talk about it lining up with the Hall of Fame, just because you’re talking football,” Johnson said via The Detroit News. “Or when I have just somebody on the street just wanting to talk about it. But, for me, I’m five years out now. I’m not wasting any time waiting on them.”

By hinting again that he has a certain level of frustration with Lions management, Johnson has brought to the surface the organization's rocky relationships with others who have sacrificed and donned the Honolulu Blue over the years. 

Despite the disrespectful actions taken by the Lions organization, Johnson should not completely neglect all the positives that come with playing in the National Football League. 

A simple thank you to the franchise for drafting him and allowing him to create meaningful and lasting relationships is warranted. 


Imagine being a member of the Lions contingent that is on hand for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and knowing the investment that is made in every player on the roster -- beyond just the obvious financial commitment.

Johnson could also do wonders for Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp's efforts to change the narrative and culture surrounding the team. 

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"I hope we can repair things with Calvin Johnson,” Hamp said. “He was obviously an amazing player for us. We’re going to continue to reach out to him, and (we) hope that we can repair things, because I think it’s important that he comes back into the Lions family. We’d love if he could, if he will."

A simple acknowledgement of his time in Detroit, playing the sport he loved, is all that is required in this situation. 

With a new regime in place, setting aside personal differences could, in fact, set into motion what so few have been able to do: unite.

“I’m sure I’m gonna run into them, but you know me, I keep it short,” said Johnson. “I keep it moving. Go about my business."

Being short and sweet and to the point is all Johnson needs to do to be the bigger person. It could actually aid him in the long run, in his efforts to recoup money from the organization. 

Being the bigger person is challenging, but not so daunting that it precludes an individual from expressing gratitude when the opportunity arises.

Johnson must now prove that he is a Hall of Fame person.

The class of 2021 -- comprised of Tom Flores, Alan Faneca, John Lynch, Peyton Manning, Bill Nunn, Drew Pearson, Charles Woodson and Johnson -- will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

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