Calvin Johnson may have quite a few years left in him, but one can only wonder if he’ll get the Barry Sanders complex within a few seasons.
Sanders, of course, is the NFL Hall of Fame running back who retired at the age of 30 in 1998 when he frankly was getting tired of playing for a franchise that was going nowhere.
Johnson is the most exciting player the Detroit Lions have had since Sanders. But he seems to be stuck in the same situation: performing for a franchise that occasionally shows promise but doesn’t deliver and is a long shot to go for a Super Bowl in the near future.
Sure, Johnson signed a $132 million deal last March, the highest NFL contract in history, for eight seasons.
It might be too much money for him to pass up, so unlike Sanders, Johnson might demand a trade if he still has the fire in his belly and wants to keep the money in his wallet.
But like Sanders, Johnson is likely to eventually grow tired of being on a losing team that, if it’s lucky enough to make the postseason, doesn’t know how to win a playoff game.
Johnson is certainly worth every penny, considering he broke Jerry Rice’s single season record. Yet, all the Lions could do is win four games. It’s obvious they need more than just Calvin Johnson to have an NFL contender.
The Lions have only won one playoff game since the 1950s and whether or not those fortunes can change within the next few years remains to be seen. It’s likely that within three or four years, if they continue to play poorly, Johnson will, like Barry Sanders, decide he’s had enough of life in Detroit. But unlike Sanders, Johnson, who is 27, would probably not retire but demand a trade.