Calvin Johnson retired from the NFL two seasons ago at the age of 30, but he does not regret the decision in the slightest.
And for pretty good reason.
Johnson opened up about life in retirement in a recent piece on the Players’ Tribune. And on top of discussing getting married and his newfound love for skiing, among other things, he sheds light on something pretty big.
He doesn’t miss playing, and it’s because of the pain.
“I’m still around the game so much,” Johnson wrote. It’s still a huge part of my life, even though I’m not playing on Sundays. I miss my teammates, for sure. I miss coach (Jim) Caldwell. I miss giving fans something to be excited about. I miss the competition. But I can honestly say that I don’t miss playing.
“I love football. But it became difficult to love the game as much when I was in some sort of pain every day. I never talked about it while I was playing because … what good would that do?” Johnson continued. “It wouldn’t make me hurt any less. It would just sound like an excuse. And I hate making excuses. So I continued to play as best I could for as long as I could, which turned out to be nine years.”
The second overall pick in the 2007 draft was always a threat, especially with his massive figure and huge wingspan, reeling in over 1,100 yards in six seasons. But eventually it became clear to him that he had to take care of himself and think about the rest of his life, and that certainly isn’t something anyone can fault him for.
And though Johnson is one of the few openly speaking about the pain, certainly there are a slew of players — both active and retired — who are in very similar situations.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images.