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Don't expect Calvin Johnson to thank the Detroit Lions in his Hall of Fame speech

Posted at 8:35 AM, Aug 05, 2021

(WXYZ) — Former Detroit Lions legendary wide receiver Calvin Johnson has so many people to thank in his hall of fame speech this weekend, he had to cut it short. One organization he won't be thanking: The Detroit Lions.

Johnson, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, spoke to our Brad Galli ahead of the speech.

He said he has so many people to thank, and that it's so hard to squeeze nine years, college, his youth and more into just 6-8 minutes.

But when it comes to the team, there won't be a mention. There has been a rift since he retired in 2016 and the team asked him to pay back part of his signing bonus.

"What do I have to say? My mom taught me well. If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all," he said.

Johnson also said that he just didn't have it in him to come back after he abruptly retired five years ago.

"It wasn't fun anymore to push. I couldn't do the training, I couldn't prepare myself," he said.

He did say that if the team was contending for a championship, maybe it would have been different, but even today, he deals with the pain from playing football.

"Even when I do my camps nowadays, I demonstrate the drills and I feel like I played a football game," he said.

Detroit Lions principal owner and chairman Sheila Ford Hamp said earlier this year they hope to repair the rift with Johnson.

"I’m not going to go into the money issue, but I hope we can repair things with Calvin Johnson," Hamp said in January. "He was obviously an amazing player for us. We’re going to continue to reach out to him and hope that we can repair things because I think it’s important that he comes back into the Lions family. We’d love if he could, if he will."