The gold jacket slid on to Calvin Johnson’s sculpted shoulders as if it belonged there the complete time. And the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame honor that will come with the jacket was straightforward to see early on in Johnson’s incredible vocation with the Detroit Lions.
From the initially day the 6-foot-5, 230-pound wideout walked into the building, Johnson was anything specific. Detroit’s to start with-spherical choose, No. 2 overall, in the 2007 NFL draft quickly proved he was destined for legendary greatness. Johnson’s star shone brightly earlier mentioned a supporting solid that may possibly have been the worst in NFL heritage.
Contemplate this: In his next period, participating in with a troika of inept QBs on the initial group to at any time go -16, Johnson led the NFL in touchdown receptions. Megatron far more than doubled the capture output of any teammate. He skipped possessing 1,000 more obtaining yards than the No. 2 receiver (Shaun McDonald) by a solitary lawn.
And he was just receiving warmed up.
Including Matthew Stafford to the mix at quarterback launched Johnson’s career to the subsequent level. Getting a reliable thrower who wasn’t fearful to offer you up capture possibilities that most quarterbacks wouldn’t check out and even fewer receivers could even consider about completing, wow! It was a exclusive combination.
Johnson’s blend of dimension, pace, power and relentless effort to capture just about every one toss, no issue the precision, attained him broad-ranging respect around the league. Any Lions admirer can convey to you which is not effortless to carry out from Detroit on a crew that manufactured the playoffs just two times in his 9 seasons.
The to start with playoff video game is most likely my favorite Calvin Johnson recreation. The final result did not go Detroit’s way, but Johnson dominated the Saints defense in a 45-28 Lions decline. His 12 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns proved that as the phase obtained even larger, so also did Johnson’s activity. It’s a single of the most commanding postseason performances of the 21st century and it capped one of the best unique time any wide receiver has ever posted: 96 receptions, 1,681 yards and 16 TDs.
Then arrived the historic year the place he took it even greater. In 2012, a star-crossed period for the Lions, Johnson obliterated the file book with his 122 receptions and 1,964 getting yards. The yardage continues to be the NFL document, as does his 16.1 yards for every touch, and the receptions are nevertheless in the best 10 for a single period.
Johnson saved it rolling. The 329-property outing towards Dallas in 2013, followed up just one 7 days later by a two-TD efficiency in a two-point earn over the rival Bears. The Week 1 annihilation of the Giants in 2014 where Johnson caught seven passes for 164 yards and two TDs in a blowout get. There was a fantastic recreation against Miami later on that 12 months wherever Johnson returned from a a few-7 days absence and lit up the Dolphins in another limited Lions win.
His previous sport in a Lions uniform was also a memorable a person. Johnson smoked the Bears for 10 catches, 137 yards and a landing in the 2015 season finale.
By way of all the accidents, the gnarled fingers and the deficiency of team good results, Johnson always carried out himself with the identical grace he confirmed on the field. It ended as well quickly and much too awkwardly, but it does not diminish just how dominant Johnson was in his nine seasons in Detroit.
Thank you for the greatness, the memories and the data, Calvin!