A major fence is being mended in Detroit. Calvin Johnson, a Hall of Fame receiver and one of the Lions' all-time great players, said that he has had "some good conversations" with a franchise that he has not been on good terms with since his retirement back in 2015. Johnson said that Lions chief operating officer Mike Disner has played an integral role in helping bring the two sides together.
"I think we're having some good conversations," Johnson recently said on "The Jim Rome Show." "I feel like he's going to put an effort to bring the two of us together, bring us back on the same page. … That's a difference that I had not seen in the past that's happening now."
The relationship between Johnson and the Lions had been strained since the team forced him to pay back a portion of his signing bonus from the eight-year extension he signed in 2012. Johnson did not directly address the Lions during his 2021 Hall of Fame induction speech, but he did thank the fan base and the city of Detroit for their unwavering support, especially after the team's 0-16 season in 2018.
"You've loved my family unconditionally over these years," Johnson said to Lions fans. "Michigan is our home, Detroit is our city, and Lions fans are our pride."
Now that two sides have begun the reconciliation process, Johnson is looking forward to being around the team and doing whatever he can to help the Lions in their pursuit of the franchise's first championship.
"I want to be able to get back around football and be able to help out the team," said Johnson, the team's all-time receiving leader who was just the seventh receiver to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. "Not that they need my help, but I feel like I have a lot of experience to share with those guys, whether it's football or off the field.
"Definitely be a value to the organization, and I'm excited to just be around the team again. Just be around football and allow my kids to see the things I was about to do when I was in Detroit."