Like most decisions, Calvin Johnson’s retirement after the 2015 season wasn’t just about one issue.
Johnson was asked by the Italian media if he ever thought about trying to change teams.
“I mean, I thought about it,” Johnson said, via the Detroit News. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall … and not going anywhere.
“It’s the definition of insanity,” Johnson added laughing.
“That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “That’s the ultimate goal. … I wanted to win it, and like I said, I just didn’t see that opportunity [with the Lions].”
The idea that Johnson was frustrated with Detroit’s lack of winning isn’t new. Most Lions fans believed years of futility — including that 0-16 2008 season — played at least a part in Megatron walking away at 30 years old. Detroit fans watched a similarly frustrated Barry Sanders leave before.
It’s also not the first time Johnson brought up the fact that he couldn’t play elsewhere due to his contract with the Lions. He made a similar note while visiting the Oakland Raiders workouts this offseason. In Italy, Johnson was much more plain about how little Super Bowl prospects he saw in Detroit.