Every year players, in every sport, hang up their relevant equipment that is used to demonstrate they are retiring. The NFL has provided a whole spectrum of retirements from the totally expected and rumoured for months, Peyton Manning (who got his own piece dedicated to him) to the out of nowhere retirements that left people stunned. This will be about the two biggest retirements in the offseason that were not Peyton Manning. Two players who will be hard to replace for their teams and two players who will be missed by the NFL because they were still playing well.
Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson Jr. – It’s always the Lions. That is what comes to mind with this retirement. The best player they have had since Barry Sanders was winning games on his own and his retirement is all to similar. The Lions, a couple of years ago, were a playoff team. They had some good young players and they were heading in the right place but they missed the window. Defensive Tackle, Suh, left his partner in crime Nick Fairley left. The Offensive line fell to pieces and suddenly a once promising team fell to pieces. It is the Lions way. Like Sanders, Johnson was the best at his position in the NFL at his peak. Johnson is about a year past his best but after just 9 years in the NFL, ranging from an 0 (Yes Zero) – 16 season to two double digit win seasons and a playoff trip (finishing 10-6 in 2011 and 11-5 in 2014). The best receiver in the NFL and one of the best ever retired. Johnson could still be a top 10 receiver and change games but he felt it was time to hang up his boots/gloves and enjoy life after the NFL. He had a foot injury he could never really shake and his strive to be the best was what made him jaded with the sport. That is the factors in his retirement and like Barry Sanders, he cut his own career short and the Lions are left with a huge hole to fill after a once in a generation player leaves.
Marshawn Lynch – A player who never quite lived up to his potential until he suddenly did. Drafted in 2007 (Like Calvin Johnson Jr.) by the Buffalo Bills with the 12th overall pick. The Bills believed they had a running back that could carry them over the hump to a Lombardi Trophy. When he arrived in Buffalo he came out flying with great early success in his career showing what he could become. Then he ran into legal troubles in his third year in the NFL and the Bills, once young stud, fell by the wayside. In 2010 Buffalo managed to find a trade for Marshawn and he was sent packing to the Seattle Seahawks. Where Lynch would evolve from Marshawn Lynch to the Skittle Loving Monster Running Back known as Beast Mode. In Seattle he was beloved for his hard hitting style that carried them to back-to-back Superbowl (winning one and losing one) and helping develop a potential star QB in Russell Wilson who knew he always had the option of handing it off to his stud RB. Lynch was always a guy who knew what he wanted. He knew who he was and he was comfortable with that. He didn’t want attention. He didn’t like being in the bright lights because that is not who he was. Lynch was about letting his game do all his talking after a bumpy road it did a lot of talking. Even the way Lynch announced his retirement was typical of Lynch. He posted his announcement (A pair of boots hanging) during the NFC Championship game. He was a quiet man who let his game do the talking and the NFL will miss his game.