Calvin Johnson isn’t happy with how his relationship with the Detroit Lions ended.
At his football camp this week, Johnson told the Detroit Free Press that he was frustrated with how the team treated him when he announced his retirement after the 2015 season:
“I don’t even like to talk Lions too much just because the way our relationship ended,” Johnson said when asked about his No. 81 being retired. “If they see me around here, we’ll see. But hey, I don’t know.
I just didn’t feel like I was treated the way I should have been treated on the way out. That’s all. I mean, it’s all good. I’m not tripping. I don’t feel any kind of way, just hey, that’s what they did. Hey, it is what is.”
Johnson didn’t offer any specifics, but it seems plausible that he’s talking about the fact that the team required him to return a portion of his signing bonus when he walked away with several years left on his contract. They did the same thing with another key franchise player years earlier in Barry Sanders, and they’re contractually within their rights to do so—but that doesn’t make it look any less petty to demand that a player who was so central to the team return several hundred thousand dollars as a penalty for choosing to walk away from the game after years of injuries.