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Calvin Johnson

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Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson at the Detroit Lions training camp in 2012
No. 81     Detroit Lions
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-09-29) September 29, 1985
Place of birth: Newnan, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 236 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school: Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek
Georgia Tech
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Debuted in 2007 for the Detroit Lions
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 14, 2014
Receptions 629
Receiving yards 10,210
Receiving TDs 72
Stats at

Calvin Johnson, Jr. (born September 29, 1985) is an All-American twice. He was selected by the Lions with the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

On March 14, 2012, Johnson signed an eight-year, $132 million contract extension with the Lions, one of the largest sports contracts ever.[1] Johnson has a rare combination of size (6 ft 5 in and 239 lb), hands, speed (40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds and 100 meter in 10.23 seconds), strength, leaping ability,[2][3] body control and hand-eye coordination. His nickname "Megatron" was given to him by former Lions wide receiver Roy Williams and the name caught on with fans.

On December 22, 2012, Johnson broke Jerry Rice's single-season record for receiving yards, which had previously been 1,848.[4] In that same Saturday night game versus the Atlanta Falcons, Johnson also set the NFL records for consecutive 100-yard games (8) and consecutive games with 10 or more receptions (4). He also tied Hall of Famer Michael Irvin's record for most 100-yard games in a season with 11.[5]

Early years

Johnson was born to Calvin and Arica Johnson on September 29, 1985 in [3][8] His number, 81, was retired on October 22, 2010.[9]

Johnson was rated among the nation's top 10 wide receivers and top 100 players by virtually every recruiting analyst. He was tabbed the No. 4 wide receiver and No. 15 player in the nation by, and named to the Super Southern 100 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Rivals 100 by, Hot 100, the SuperPrep All-America 275 and the Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team.[3]

He was also rated the No. 1 player in Georgia, No. 12 in the Southeast and No. 37 in the nation by, the No. 7 wide receiver in the nation by SuperPrep, and first-team all-state selection (Class AAAA) by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Finally, he was tabbed to the AJC's preseason Super 11.[3] By the time he was a junior, he was ranked as within the top 10 wide receivers and the top 100 players in the nation by almost every writer.[3]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Calvin Johnson
Tyrone, Georgia Sandy Creek HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 4.27 Jan 12, 2004 
Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 3 (WR); 34 (school)   Rivals: 6 (WR); 37 (national); 3 (GA); 50 (school)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2004 Georgia Tech Football Commitment List". Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  • "2004 Georgia Tech College Football Team Recruiting Prospects". Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  • " Team Recruiting Rankings". Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  • "2004 Team Ranking". Retrieved August 17, 2013. 

College career

Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech

Johnson attended the [10]

As a freshman in 2005 was Johnson's sophomore year, when he earned first-team All-American honors. He also earned All-ACC honors for the second straight year and was semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award. He led Tech with 54 catches for 888 yards and six scores.

Calvin Johnson catching a pass

Johnson entered his [11] Against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Toyota Gator Bowl, Johnson had nine catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns, albeit in a losing effort.[12][13]

College record

  • Georgia Tech career receiving yards – 2,927

College awards and honors

Calvin Johnson's Fred Biletnikoff Award
  • First-team Freshman All-American 2004[14]
  • All-American 2005 and 2006[14]
  • First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference, 2004, 2005 and 2006[3]
  • ACC Rookie of the Year, 2004[3]
  • ACC Player of the Year, 2006[3]
  • Four-time ACC Rookie of the Week[14]
  • Biletnikoff Award, 2006[3]
  • Paul Warfield Trophy, 2006
  • 10th 2006 Heisman Vote - 43 total votes (76 rec, 1202 yds, 15.8 avg, 15 TD)[15]

Academic activities

During the 2006 summer, Johnson, who majored in management with a background in building construction, was given the option of working on either constructing environmentally friendly luxury condos, or a project building solar latrines to improve sanitation in Bolivia.[16][17] Johnson chose the latter, as he wanted to help the less fortunate.[18] The "solar latrines" use the sun’s rays to safely transform bacteria-laden waste into fertilizer.[18][19]

Professional career

Calvin Johnson in his Detroit Lions training uniform

2007 NFL Draft

Coming out of college, Johnson was hyped to be one of the best wide receivers of all time. Johnson was's Midseason [10][21] He was regarded as the best athlete to come out of the draft and was the #1 player on most draft boards.[2][22][23] Johnson was said by ESPN to be able to be productive as a rookie, much like receiver Randy Moss was as a rookie.[2] In a mid-February workout with speed and conditioning coach Mark Pearsall, Johnson clocked a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, recorded an 11-foot standing broad jump, and had a vertical leap of 43 inches.[24]

Johnson surprised many when he weighed in at 239 pounds at the [25] Johnson ran a 4.35 and wowed scouts with his jump drill results, his receiving skills, and his 11 ft 7 in (3.53 m) broad jump, which is "best broad jump I can ever remember an NFL prospect having," according to Gil Brandt.[26]

Johnson was selected by the [27] The Lions were expected to trade Johnson, most likely to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the team announced that they were keeping him.[30] The next day, the Detroit Tigers invited him to throw out the first pitch.[31][32]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 5 in 239 lb 4.35 s 1.52 s 2.53 s 42.5 in 11 ft 7 in 41
All from NFL Combine, except vertical and broad jump (which are from Georgia Tech pro day).[33][34]

Detroit Lions

2007 season

Johnson attended Reebok's NFL Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles.[35] The Lions, being told by the league that Johnson would have to skip the minicamp to attend, rescheduled the camp to accommodate Johnson.[36] On August 3, 2007, Calvin Johnson signed a six-year deal with the Detroit Lions after holding out for eight days, and passed his physical in time to be on the field for the start of that morning's practice.[14][37][38] He was represented by agent James "Bus" Cook. The contract is worth up to $64 million, with $27.2 million in guaranteed money, making Johnson the third highest-paid player in Lions history (the highest at the time, since passed by Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh) and the highest-paid receiver (in guaranteed money) in the NFL.[37][37][39]

Although he did not start the game, Johnson had an impressive NFL debut on Sunday, September 9, 2007, catching 4 passes for 70 yards and his first career touchdown in Detroit's 36–21 win over the Oakland Raiders.[40][41][42] He sustained a lower back injury after making a catch over two Philadelphia Eagles defenders on September 23, 2007.[43] He scored his first NFL rushing touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 21, 2007 on a 32-yard reverse play.[44] Fellow teammate Roy Williams nicknamed Johnson "Megatron", due to his large hands being similar to that of the towering Decepticon.[45] The nickname caught on well with fans. Williams later changed the nickname to "Bolt" after Jamaican sprinting phenom Usain Bolt, comparing the two athletes' similar height and running abilities.[46] Johnson finished the 2007 season with 756 yards and 5 total touchdowns.[47]

In 2008, Johnson said he could "still feel" the lower-back injury that bothered him throughout his rookie season. Johnson took five weeks off after the 2007 season and was taking part in the Lions' offseason program. "I know it's there but it doesn't hurt," he said.[48] Johnson revealed that he needed Vicodin to play through the final three months of the 2007 season. He needed the medication to help him play with a bone bruise in his back. "I was on meds the rest of the season," he said. "I was taking Vicodin twice a game just to get through the game. I stayed hurt the whole season, probably because I was trying to come back too soon."[49] Johnson averaged 15.8 yards on 48 catches in the 2007 season.[47]

2008 season

Johnson and the Lions faced the Atlanta Falcons on the road on September 7, 2008, to begin the season. As the official starting wide receiver behind Roy Williams, Johnson led the team in receptions and yards, collecting 7 catches for 107 yards, which included one 38-yard catch-and-run in the Lions' 34–21 loss.[50] During week 2 versus the Green Bay Packers, he had two key touchdowns late in the game, which sparked a large comeback, though the Lions eventually lost the game, 48–25. Both touchdowns catches included a run after the catch (the first catch going for 38 yards and the second going for 47 yards, both over the middle) displaying Johnson's speed and breakaway ability. He ended the game with 6 receptions for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns.[51] In the following two games, losses to San Francisco and Chicago, Johnson failed to score a touchdown or gain over 50 yards receiving. However, against the Minnesota Vikings, Johnson had 4 receptions for 85 yards and his third touchdown of the season.[52]

On October 14 before the week 6 trade deadline, Roy Williams was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a first, a 3rd and a 7th-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, making Johnson the Lions' starting wide receiver and the last big threat on the offense.[53] In his first game without Roy Williams alongside him in the week 7 game against the Houston Texans, Johnson caught only 2 passes, totaling 154 yards receiving; the first pass didn't come until Dan Orlovsky threw a pass up for grabs at the end of the first half which Johnson caught for 58 yards and the second pass came on a 96-yard touchdown catch-and-run.[54] With Williams gone and starting quarterback Jon Kitna lost to injury for the season, the Texans defense had little to do to stop the Lions' offense but shut down Johnson, winning the game 28–21.[55]

Johnson set a career high for receptions in a game during the week-9 match-up against their division rivals, the Chicago Bears, with 8 receptions that garnered 94 yards and one touchdown, although still losing the game 27–23. During week 10, formerly retired All-Pro quarterback Daunte Culpepper was signed to a one-year contract with the Lions in hopes to spur the offense and earned the starting job for the next two games. Johnson ended his first game with Culpepper at quarterback with 2 receptions for 92 yards in a 38–14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Johnson's 4th game with Culpepper, he had 5 catches for 66 yards. During the week 14 match-up against the division rival Minnesota Vikings, Johnson passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career after collecting 3 catches for 84 yards and one touchdown, ending the week with 1,055 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns on the season.

Johnson and the 2008 Detroit Lions finished the first ever 0–16 season in NFL history after a 31–21 loss to the Green Bay Packers in week 17.[56] Despite the Lions' failures and the fact that five different quarterbacks played during the year, Johnson finished as one of the strongest wide receivers statistically for the season, finishing fifth in receiving yards (1,331) and 7th in receiving yards per game (83.2), and leading the league in receiving touchdowns (12). However, Johnson missed the Pro Bowl, with most experts attributing the snub to the Lions' dismal winless season (he was named an alternate instead).[57]

2009 season

After 2008, Detroit's front office and coaching personnel were essentially overhauled by the team ownership. [47]

2010 season

Calvin Johnson on January 1, 2012 playing against the Green Bay Packers.

In a week 1 game against the Chicago Bears, Johnson caught a pass with 31 seconds left in regulation in the end zone for what looked like a game-winning touchdown. However, referee Gene Steratore ruled the catch incomplete, saying that Johnson had not maintained possession of the ball through the entire process of the catch. The Lions lost the game, 19–14.[58]

Johnson amassed 77 receptions for 1,120 yards and 12 TDs during 2010. He was also selected to the first Pro Bowl of his career on December 28.[59] Following the 2010 season, Johnson was the recipient of the Lions/Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association/Pro Football Writers Association (Detroit Chapter) Media-Friendly Good Guy Award.

2011 season

In 2011, Johnson had his best statistical season of his NFL career, reaching a career-high 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. In a week-4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Johnson helped rally the Lions from a 24-point deficit to a 34-30 victory by catching two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a famous catch in which Johnson beat the Cowboys' triple coverage in the end zone.[60] This performance gave Johnson 8 touchdown receptions through the first four games of the season and tied Cris Carter for most consecutive games with multiple touchdown receptions at 4.[60] In a Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers, Johnson had a career-best 244 receiving yards in a 45-41 loss.[61] Johnson and the Lions clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999, and the first time in Johnson's career, after a 38-10 beating of the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve.[62]

However, Detroit would ultimately lose on the road against the Packers the following week (New Year's Day) and would find themselves on the road again in a 2012 NFC Wild Card game against the heavily favored New Orleans Saints in the playoff bracket. Always tough to play against at the Superdome, the Saints wore down the Detroit defense and New Orleans would go on to a win 45-28. In the game, Johnson caught 12 passes for 211 receiving yards and two touchdowns - breaking Detroit's playoff record of 150 receiving yards in a playoff game previously held by Brett Perriman and Leonard Thompson.

2012 season

On March 14, 2012, Johnson signed an 8-year extension worth $132 million with the Detroit Lions, with $60 million guaranteed, making Johnson the highest-paid receiver in the league. Johnson beat out 42 other players and eliminated Cam Newton to win the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete on April 25, 2012, on SportsNation.[63] From week 9-16, he recorded consecutive games with 125 receiving yards or more, which broke the NFL record previously held by Pat Studstill. On December 22, 2012 against the Atlanta Falcons, Johnson broke Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yards record of 1,848 yards.[64] Johnson was also named a starter for the NFC in the Pro Bowl played in Honolulu, Hawaii.[65] Johnson finished with 72 yards against Chicago in week 17, missing out on 2000 by just 36 yards.[66] Johnson finished the season leading the league in receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,964).[67]

2013 season

On October 27, 2013, in a 31–30 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Johnson caught 14 of 16 passes thrown in his direction; he finished the game with 329 receiving yards and one touchdown. In addition to breaking the Lions' franchise record of 302 receiving yards set by Cloyce Box on Dec. 3, 1950, it was the highest receiving yardage ever in a regulation-length game and the second-highest overall single-game yardage in NFL history, behind Flipper Anderson's 336-yard performance in a 1989 overtime win (Anderson accumulated 40 of those yards in overtime).[68] In this same game, Calvin also tied Lance Alworth for the most career games with at least 200 yards receiving (5).[69]

In a Week 10 game against the Chicago Bears, Johnson had two TD receptions. The second one gave him the Lions all-time record for touchdown catches (63), breaking the old mark previously held by Herman Moore.[70] Johnson was named to the 2014 Pro Bowl, but an injury forced him to withdraw.[71]

2014 season

In the Thanksgiving Day game against the Chicago Bears (November 27), Johnson became the fastest player to reach 10,000 receiving yards in NFL history, eclipsing the mark in the second quarter of his 115th game.[72]

NFL records

  • Most receiving yards in a single season: 1,964 yards (2012)[73][74]
  • Most receptions in a single calendar month: 49 receptions (December 2012)
  • First player with at least 2 receiving touchdowns in each of his team's first four games of a season (2011)[60]
  • First NFL player in history to have consecutive seasons with at least 1,600 yards receiving (2011, 2012)
  • Seasons with 1,600 yards receiving (2) - tied with Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt
  • Most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards (8)[75]
  • Most consecutive games with at least 10 receptions (4)[73]
  • Most 100 receiving yard games in a single season (11)[76] - tied with Michael Irvin
  • Most consecutive games with at least 2 receiving touchdowns (4, tied with Cris Carter)
  • Most receiving yards in a four-quarter game in NFL history (329 yards)
  • Most receiving yards in back to back games (484 yards)
  • Most career games with 200+ receiving yards (5, tied with Lance Alworth)
  • Most receiving yards in a five game span (861 yards) [77]
  • Most receiving yards in a six game span (962 yards) [78]
  • Fastest to 10,000 NFL receiving yards (115 games)[72]

Lions franchise records

  • Most receiving touchdowns in a single season: 16 (2011)[79]
  • Most career touchdowns (71)
  • Most seasons with 10+ receiving touchdowns: 4[79]
  • Most career 70+ yard receptions: 8[80]
  • Most games with multiple touchdowns in one half: 12[80]
  • Most receiving yards in a single game in regulation (329). This is the 2nd most overall in NFL history behind Flipper Anderson (336).[81][82]
  • Most career receiving yards (9,328 through 2013)

Career Statistics

Season Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2007 Detroit Lions 15 10 48 756 15.8 49 4 4 52 13.0 32T 1 1 0
2008 Detroit Lions 16 16 78 1,331 17.1 96T 12 3 -1 -0.3 7 0 3 2
2009 Detroit Lions 14 14 67 984 14.7 75T 5 7 73 10.4 19 0 3 2
2010 Detroit Lions 15 15 77 1,120 14.5 87T 12 4 32 8.0 15 0 1 0
2011 Detroit Lions 16 16 96 1,681 17.5 73T 16 1 11 11.0 11 0 1 1
2012 Detroit Lions 16 16 122 1,964 16.1 53 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
2013 Detroit Lions 14 14 84 1,492 17.8 87 12 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Total 106 101 572 9,328 16.3 96T 66 19 167 8.8 32 1 13 9

Personal life

Johnson Jr. is a Christian. Johnson has a tattoo of the crucifixion of Jesus on his left arm and a Christian cross on his right arm.[83][84] Johnson is part of a weekly Bible study group with other Lions players.[85]

Johnson is funding a film called Real Love. The film is "a coming-of-age story about a girl trying to stay true to her virginity and her religion" and "... a message [Johnson] wants to get out there."[86][87]


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  77. ^
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  87. ^ "Calvin Johnson Funding Pro-Abstinence Movie ‘Real Love’ for Message, Not Profit (Photo)". 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from • ESPN • CBS Sports • Yahoo! Sports • • Pro-Football-Reference • Rotoworld
  • Detroit Lions bio
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets bio
Preceded by
Jerry Rice
NFL single-season receiving record
Succeeded by
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