(Sports Illustrated) – He “won’t step foot in anything Lions-related” unless he gets his money back, but he isn’t bitter. He is sure he suffered at least nine concussions in the NFL, one for every season—a “super conservative” estimate, he says—but that’s not why he retired in his prime, at 30. If the team had been better he probably would have kept playing, but he is glad he left. He smoked pot after every game, to heal, but that’s not why he’s getting into the cannabis business.
“When I got to the league, [there] was opioid abuse,” Johnson says. “You really could go in the training room and get what you wanted. I can get Vicodin, I can get Oxy[contin]. It was too available. I used Percocet and stuff like that. And I did not like the way that made me feel. I had my preferred choice of medicine. Cannabis.”
When Andrew Luck retired, most people’s bewilderment stemmed from the fact that the Colts were seen as a contender. That this year was as good as any in his career to hoist the Lombardi trophy, stamping their beliefs in what they saw back at Stanford. When Calvin Johnson retired suddenly with prime years left, the vast majority understood. Because the Lions were overflowing Hefty bags tearing at the seams. Reports at the time came out that he could barely get up and down the stairs in the morning, that the pain of every day life wasn’t worth the trade off of millions of dollars.
And for the most part, Megatron has faded into the background. I can’t remember the last time I heard a quote from him about anything. So for him to break his silence, mostly to tout his new cannabis business, but to further open up about just how bad things were behind the scenes with the Lions is tremendous. I want more objectively great players who were stuck with the dog shit franchises that drafted them to come forward and tell stories like this. Because there’s no doubt in my mind the nuggets in this story about Jon Kitna predicting his OWN TEAM going 0-16 are just the tip of the iceberg.
I do very much appreciate him calling out how superfluous the abundance of opioids are in NFL locker rooms while simultaneously pointing out just how easy it is to smoke weed as a professional football player. Like Josh Gordon has missed the vast majority of his NFL career due to suspensions for cannabis meanwhile Calvin Johnson was out here burning it the fuck down the second the game ended because he couldn’t believe just how inept the Lions were. And I’d argue Flash, playing for the Browns, needed it as badly as Megatron did with Detroit. But, that’s the difference between knowing how to pick your spots. You get that clean piss test at the beginning of the year and you’re gravy. I’m sure it’s confusing for a young player to watch the NFL pick and choose who they want to apply certain rules to, but c’est la vie.