Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is expected to retire this offseason, but it’s not a done deal yet. Appearing on 105.1 FM in Detroit on Thursday morning, Lions president Rod Wood said that the team is still waiting on a final decision from Megatron, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions outlines.
“We’re staying in touch with him,” Wood said of Johnson. “I talked to him Monday, and [GM] Bob Quinn talked to him, so get that out there. Bob has spoken to Calvin. Calvin has not made a decision…. We’re going to give him time to think about what he wants to do. If he wants to come back, we’d, obviously, love to have him back. If he decides to retire, we’re going to support that decision.”
Asked whether the Lions will push Johnson to make his decision by a certain date, Wood insisted there was no timetable.
“It’d be nice to know what we’re going to do, but it’s not something that we’re going to force on him to make a decision prior to free agency,” Wood said. “I’m not going to try and talk him in, or anybody else with the team, talk him into a decision. He needs to decide what’s right for him and his future and his body and the rest of his career. And I think the worst thing that we could do is try and put pressure on him, and we’re not doing that.”
Wood weighed in on a few more Lions-related topics, and we have a couple other notes out of Detroit to pass along, so let’s round up the latest….
- Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who took some time after the season to contemplate his future, wants to play in 2016 and perhaps beyond, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Ngata is unsigned for 2016, but will talk to the Lions soon to see if the two sides can continue their relationship.
- As Twentyman writes in his piece linked above, Wood pointed to the offensive line as an area the Lions will look to upgrade this offseason, and also stressed the importance of building a strong defense. “I certainly think there’s a long history of teams with good defenses winning,” the club president said. “Last year (2014), when we had the No. 2 defense in the league, we were 11-5. This year, when our defense didn’t play as well the beginning of the year, we struggled.”
- Wood confirmed today that GM Bob Quinn has final say on all of the team’s player personnel decisions, and that it was “absolutely” Quinn’s call on whether or not to retain head coach Jim Caldwell (Twitter links via Mike O’Hara).
- Wood dismissed the idea that Caldwell is on a short leash, but stressed that the Lions do expect to win in the short term, rather than enter rebuilding mode (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
- Asked whether linebacker DeAndre Levy will be healthy for the start of training camp, Wood said he has “no reason to believe” Levy won’t be ready (Twitter link via O’Hara). The veteran linebacker missed most of the 2015 season due to hip issues.