"It wasn't worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall."
Former Pro-Bowl wide receiver of the Detroit Lions, Calvin Johnson, recently admitted that being "stuck" in Detroit factored into him retiring at the age of 30 when he was still one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL.
When Johnson retired last year, he cited the pounding his body had taken over his nine NFL seasons as the reason he decided to hang up his cleats. He expanded on his decision recently while in Italy for Italian Bowl XXXVII, the American football championship game in the country.
When asked if he had ever thought about playing for another team, Calvin told reporters, per ESPN,
"Of course, I thought about it," he said. "Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it's not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go.
"I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn't see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn't worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere.
"It's the definition of insanity."
According to ESPN, a reporter asked again if playing for the Lions was the reason he retired, to which Johnson responded, "Yes, and the body."
Johnson has also openly expressed disappointment with the way the Lions treated him on the way out, including the fact that they reportedly made him repay his $1 million signing bonus.