|Detroit Lions sign No. 2 pick Calvin Johnson to 6-year deal, ending wide receiver's holdout|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 03 August 2007 13:09|
Moments after signing a six-year contract with the Detroit Lions, the rookie wide receiver found himself on the first team during a two-minute drill.
``I wasn't surprised. I was expecting to be out there with the first team,'' Johnson said. ``That's why they picked me at No. 2.''
Johnson's eight-day holdout ended early Friday morning when he, agent Bus Cook and Lions chief operating officer Tom Lewand reached an agreement. Johnson signed the deal just in time for an 8:30 a.m. practice.
``I had tried to stay patient at the beginning of this, but the last few days have been nerve-racking,'' he said. ``I'm just glad that I'm out here playing football again, not worrying about the contract.''
Lewand declined to give financial details of the deal, and a message was left for Cook. But NFL.com reported the deal was worth $55.5 million, including more than $27 million in guaranteed money.
Johnson's arrival came at a perfect time for the Lions, its first public workout.
``We choreographed that pretty well, didn't we?'' Lewand joked.
A large cheer went up once the 500 fans in attendance realized Johnson was on the field, and more applause followed every catch he made in the two-hour practice.
``I thought today went pretty well,'' Johnson said before signing autographs. ``I made some mistakes, but I was able to retain a lot of what I picked up in (offseason team activities).''
Johnson was regarded by some as the best player in the draft after catching 78 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns during his All-America junior season at Georgia Tech. He won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top college receiver.
The Lions, 3-13 last season, made Johnson the fourth receiver taken with their first pick in the past five drafts. Detroit is 24-72 and has missed the playoffs every season since Lions president Matt Millen joined the front office in 2001.
Johnson's expected to team with Roy Williams and Mike Furrey to give the Lions a triple-threat receiving corps.
``I have a very good feeling about this group,'' Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. ``We've got some very special players on this field.''
Furrey and Williams are equally confident after working with Johnson during offseason practices.
``No one is going to be able to stop us when we are all out on the field,'' Furrey said. ``People are excited about Calvin, but they don't even know what they've got yet. He's going to be one of the top receivers in the league in a couple years.''
Marinelli also expects Johnson to affect Detroit's rushing attack.
``When we have those three men on the field, and especially when we add Shaun McDonald as a fourth receiver, it is going to force defenses to spread themselves wide,'' he said. ``That's going to open up a lot of room for Tatum Bell or Kevin Jones.''
NOTES: To make room for Johnson on the roster, the Lions placed second-round pick QB Drew Stanton on injured reserve with a knee injury. ``It's disappointing, but the decision is out of my hands,'' the former Michigan State star said. ... McDonald sat out most of the morning practice with an icepack on his left knee but said he was OK.