Johnson, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions number two overall in 2007, spent his entire nine-year career in Motown. He retires as the Lions all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and targets.
‘Megatron’ as he was known by football fans released the following statement on his decision to retire from the National Football League:
“Let me begin by apologizing for making this announcement via a statement and not in person. While I truly respect the significance of this, those who know me best will understand and not be surprised that I choose not to have a press conference for this announcement.
“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision. As I stated, I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.
“I also want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for the game of football. It has provided so much for me and my family and I will be forever grateful to the game.
“With the reality of my decision, I realize there are a lot of people I would like to thank. I must start with my family – thank you for all your love and support.
“I also want to especially thank Mrs. Ford and the Ford Family for all their support over the years. They are tremendous owners and I loved playing for them. I would also like to recognize Mr. Ford, who I was honored to know and play for before he passed away.
“While it would be hard to name them all, I would also like to thank all of my teammates past and present.
“I also want to thank all of my coaches who I played for, in particular Coach Caldwell for his support, wisdom and guidance over the past two seasons. I loved playing for Coach Caldwell.
“There are so many other people I would like to recognize and thank for what they have done for me throughout my career, but rather than risk forgetting someone, I will simply say “thanks” to everyone.
“And finally, to the fans of Detroit and Michigan. I so appreciated your passionate support over the years and truly enjoyed playing for you. I loved playing in Detroit and will forever be a Lion. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to help give our fans a championship. But I do believe the future of the Lions is bright and with the leadership from people like Rod Wood and Bob Quinn, who I have gotten to know over the past few months, I am confident that our fans will soon be rewarded with the championship you deserve.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank you all for everything.”
With Johnson retiring from the league, the Lions will have an extra $11 million to work with in free agency this off-season.
In his final NFL season, Johnson racked up 88 catches for 1,214 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. The Lions went 7-9 in 2015.
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