Last year, former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson made clear the terms for rebuilding the bridge between player and team: Refund the signing bonus money they made him repay when he retired.
The team has yet to refund the refunded $1.6 million, which means that things have gotten no better between the Lions and their best player since Barry Sanders.
Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Johnson recently said that his relationship with the team currently is “nil.”
“There’s no back and forth there,” Johnson said. “That’s fine with me. I’m handling my business, I’m sure they’re handling theirs.”
Johnson has spoken to the team’s receivers via Zoom at the request of Robert Prince, who continues to serve as the position coach. Otherwise, there’s nothing.
With ownership recently transitioning from Martha Firestone Ford to her daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp, maybe the team will have a change of heart.
Some would say that the Lions shouldn’t give Johnson his money back. The reality, however, is that if he hadn’t retired when he did, the Lions likely would have cut him — extinguishing any responsibility to refund bonus money.