“I’m not gonna close a chapter, but I’m not gonna bend over backwards to try and do anything, because I didn’t do anything. I did my job,” Johnson said. “I’m not saying they gotta repay me the $ 1.6 (million) all up front, but they need to figure out a way to do it and not have me work for it. Because I already did the work for it.”
Johnson was apparently forced to repay the money, which was part of his signing bonus, when he retired in 2016. Johnson’s retirement after just nine seasons in the league sent shockwaves through the NFL, especially given his durability (he started all 16 games in ’15) and playmaking (88 receptions for 1,214 yards in ’15). Johnson said in his Hall of Fame speech that he retired early in order to preserve his long-term health.
The Lions allegedly offered Johnson a deal in which he would earn $ 500,000 annually for three years of appearances, with the last $ 100,000 given as a charity donation. Johnson did not take the offer, and the issue goes unresolved five years later.