Calvin Johnson opens up about concussions, painkillers in NFL

Calvin Johnson definitely had his long-term health in mind when he decided to retire in March at the age of 30.

In an interview with ESPN’s “E:60,” the former Lions receiver said he loved playing football and will miss the game, but grew tired of being in constant pain.

“I know where my body’s at, know how it feels, you know,” he said in an interview that will air Thursday night. “I know how it felt to one, get it to go every day. And to be out there actually doing it every day, you know — the pain to do it. So I’m just like — and you can’t take Toradol and pain medicine every day, you know. You got to give that stuff a rest, and that was one thing I wasn’t willing to do.”

Johnson said team doctors handed out painkillers such as Vicodin “like candy.” But even easier than obtaining prescription drugs was getting a concussion.

“Concussions happen,” he said. “If not on every play, then they happen like every other, every third play, you know. With all the helmet contact, guys hitting the ground, heads hitting ground. It’s simply when your brain touches your skull from the movement or the inertia, man. It’s simple to get a concussion, you know. I don’t know how many I’ve had over my career, you know, but I’ve definitely had my fair share.

“The team doctor, the team trainers, they work for the team. And I love ’em, you know. They’re some good people, you know. They want to see you do good,” he added. “But at the same time, they work for the team, you know. They’re trying to do whatever they can to get you back on the field and make your team look good. So if it’s not going to make the team look good, or if you’re not going to be on the field, then they’re trying to do whatever they can to make that happen.”

While his long-term health was the main factor in his decision, Johnson admitted Detroit’s lack of sustained success made it easier to walk away from the game. Johnson made the Pro Bowl six times during his nine-year career, but played in only two playoff games — losing in the wild-card round in both 2011 and 2014.

“If we would have been a contender, it would have been harder to let go,” said Johnson, who retired as the Lions’ leading receiver with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.

Source: MSN Sports

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