Fairhope, Ala. — Bus Cook, the agent for Calvin Johnson, said Tuesday he doesn’t know when the Lions’ star wide receiver will make a decision about his future.
Despite having a base salary of $16 million in 2016, Johnson has been contemplating retirement after just nine NFL seasons due in part to concerns over his health.
“He’s tired, his body’s tired,” Cook told The Detroit News after a Senior Bowl practice at Fairhope Municipal Park. “In due time, he’ll make his decision.”
Cook said he hasn’t spoken with Johnson in about three weeks, and for now, he doesn’t know which way Johnson is leaning.
“I don’t know; I really don’t,” he said. “He’s still got a lot of game left, but who knows?”
To this point, Cook said he hasn’t heard from the Lions about potentially restructuring Johnson’s contract. Former general manager Martin Mayhew didn’t talk about altering Johnson’s contract last year as the team pursued defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with little cap space in free agency, and now the Lions have a new GM in Bob Quinn.
Johnson is set to count $24 million on the salary cap next year, which led to speculation about his future in Detroit during the 2015 season. He finished last year with 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns, but he had the lowest yards-per-reception average of his career at 13.8. In a Lions offense that rarely threw the ball 20-plus yards, Johnson didn’t have the signature deep plays like earlier in his career.
Johnson played the entire second half of the year with an ankle injury. He dealt with a high-ankle sprain for most of 2014 and knee and finger issues in previous seasons, and people who know him think health is the biggest reason he’s considering retirement.
“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team on Jan. 6. “I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.”
During his introductory news conference on Jan. 11, Quinn said he has no plans to rush Johnson’s decision.
“We obviously have profound respect for Calvin and certainly understand and appreciate his decision to give proper thought and consideration to his football future,” the Lions said in a statement on Jan. 6.
Cook has worked with Johnson since he declared for the draft in 2007, and he’s “not too surprised” that Johnson is considering retirement.
“A little bit shocked, but not too bad,” he said. “A lot of kids (think about retiring) at that time of the year. I’ve been through that. I had a guy that did that before, a quarterback in Green Bay (Brett Favre).”
Like the Lions, Cook won’t pressure Johnson into a decision.
“Just let him have his space and time and do what he’s doing,” Cook said.