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Johnson retirement talk is ‘serious,’ says Stafford

As Calvin Johnson takes time to heal his body and consider his future, one of his Detroit Lions teammates said talk of the star receiver retiring this offseason should not be taken lightly.

“I think, anytime Calvin says something, it’s not for show, it’s something serious,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said on “The Mitch Albom Show” this week. “I think you guys have covered him long enough to know that he’s a pretty measured person, and everything that he says to the public is a thought-out thing. So in that regard, I’m sure it’s thought-out.”

Two of Johnson’s former teammates told the Free Press last week that Johnson is considering retiring from the NFL after nine seasons because of the toll the game has taken on his body.

Johnson, who has had knee and finger surgeries and dealt with ankle problems in recent years, later confirmed those sentiments in a statement he released through the team.

“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” Johnson said. “I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.”

Stafford said that he and Johnson have talked since the end of the season, but he declined to share details of their conversation.

Johnson led the Lions with 1,214 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 88 catches this season, but he spent the entire second half of the year on the injury report with a nagging ankle problem. He averaged a career-low 13.8 yards per catch and could be asked to take a pay cut from his near $16 million base salary if he elects to return in 2016.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Stafford said. “We’ll see where his head is at and what he’s thinking.”