NFL fans were a bit surprised when Lions star wideout Calvin Johnson announced that he’d be hanging up his cleats. However, his quarterback could tell that the 30-year-old was growing tired of the game.
“Not to say that I expected it, but I wasn’t shocked,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve known Calvin for seven years and know the effort and the attitude that he plays with, and it takes a toll on people. And he was catching quite a few passes and getting hit quite a bunch, and so it takes a toll. And he’s a guy that from an offensive standpoint was touching the ball or carrying the ball just as much as anybody. So I knew the NFL was kind of wearing on him and I just told him, when he told me he was done, I just told him, ‘I’m happy for you if you’re happy.’ And that’s what you want. He’s a guy that gave everything to the game and you want him to be able to walk out on his own terms and feel like he did the right thing.”
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…
- “Quality” quarterbacks can be found towards the end of the first round, leading Paola Boivin of AZCentral.com to write that the Cardinals should select a signal-caller with their first selection in this year’s draft. Boivin believes it’s “vital” to have somebody in the wings, regardless of how long Carson Palmer continues to play.
- Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg showed flashes of brilliance playing under former coach Bill O’Brien, but he struggled under the guidance of replacement James Franklin. While the connections are undeniable, NFL scouts were still hoping for some accountability from the prospect, something he failed to deliver. Robert Klemko of SI.com writes that Hackenberg blamed his lack of recent success to the change in coaching staffs. “Despite the fact that it’s probably true, you don’t want to hear a kid say that,” one source said.
- The Vikings next big deal should be locking up safety Harrison Smith to a long-term contract, writes Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. However, based on recent years, the writer doesn’t believe we’ll see any progress until training camp.