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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, June 08, 2017 1:00 am

In The News

Johnson paid Lions at least $1 million

Calvin Johnson paid back the Detroit Lions a lot more from his signing bonus than originally thought and wrote the team a check for at least $1 million.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the franchise's greatest receiver made a payment to the Lions for at least seven figures when he retired in March 2016.

That's significantly more than the $320,000 NFL Players Association records showed Johnson paid, or about 1/10th of the $3.2 million signing bonus proration the Lions would have been entitled to under the league's collective bargaining agreement.

The Lions required Johnson to pay back part of the $16 million signing bonus he earned on the contract he signed in spring 2012.

Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said Wednesday the team had no comment on how much money Johnson has paid back.

Johnson was unavailable for comment.

The only comment the Lions have made about Johnson's contract came in March 2016, when the team said matters related to his contract “were settled to the satisfaction of the parties.”

Johnson, 31, told the Detroit Free Press on May 20 at his “Catching Dreams” football camp that he wasn't pleased with how the Lions handled his departure.

“I just didn't feel like I was treated the way I should have been treated on the way out,” he said. The Lions pursued a similar payback when Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders retired prematurely in 1999.

– News services