One of the best wide receivers in the NFL in recent years seems set to retire. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson informed family members and head coach Jim Caldwell that the 2015 season was his last as a pro, indicating that he will be retiring (as reports had suggested he might).
According to Schefter, Johnson informed Caldwell the day after the regular season ended that he planned to retire, but Caldwell urged him not to rush the decision. Out of respect for his head coach, Johnson agreed to do that, though sources told Schefter that Johnson is pretty content in his decision. No official word has been released yet by Johnson, but it does seem that he will be hanging it up after just nine seasons in the league at age 30.
If we have seen the end of Johnson, however, we've seen plenty of tremendous plays from him and a consistently high-level of production. In his nine seasons with the Lions since being drafted with the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Johnson (nicknamed Megatron) has caught 731 passes for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns while averaging 15.9 yards per catch. He put together seven 1,000-yard seasons and four double-digit touchdown seasons, and he recorded an NFL single-season record 1,964 receiving yards in 2012. The year before that (2011), Johnson put together the 11th-most receiving yards in a single season with 1,681. He made six Pro Bowls and was a three-time first-team All-Pro.
Johnson compiled quite a resume in his time in the NFL and played at a very high level, so it's significant to see one of the league's top wideouts walk away. The news has implications for the Colts, as they will host the Lions during the 2016 season. Due to the nature of the two teams playing in different conferences Johnson has faced the Colts just twice, but he has made his mark. In those two games against Indy, Johnson has caught 22 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns on 36 targets, averaging 12.8 yards per reception. The receiver caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns last season, so the fact that the Colts might not face him next season is very noteworthy. The Lions still have Golden Tate and others at receiver, but losing Megatron would obviously be a big loss.
It's rare to see a player like Johnson walk away at just 30 years old, but he has been hurting and taking a beating, so it sounds like he's decided to retire. You can't fault a player for looking out for his body and his well-being like that, particularly after all that Johnson has already done.