NFC North foes laud Calvin Johnson as he contemplates retirement

INDIANAPOLIS -- Calvin Johnson might be retiring and the first reaction from Chicago Bears coach John Fox was succinct and told you what the rest of the league might be thinking.

“You just look at our games, I’d say, ‘Yay,’" Fox said. “But he’s a great player. I have a great respect [for him].”

Johnson has crushed the Bears throughout his career. He’s had six 100-yard games against Chicago -- including a streak of four straight. He’s caught 96 passes in his career against the Bears for 1,480 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He had his best season, yardage-wise, against Fox’s Bears in 2015, when he had 16 receptions for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He went over 100 yards in both games, the only time Johnson did that in the 2015 season.

Johnson has been one of the best receivers in the NFL over the past decade, with 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.

But if he were to retire, at least one general manager believes the Lions will be able to handle it because of quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“They still have Stafford, right,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “He’s a very good quarterback and we’ve got great quarterbacks in this division. And I don’t know the situation with Calvin and what will transpire, but he is a great player.

“Just playing against him throughout his career, he’s a future Hall of Famer and those guys are few and far between when they come through. Not only, just looking from the outside in, he was a great player but he was a great player with how he represented the organization off the field.”

The Lions have said they will be patient with Johnson as he contemplates whether he will retire or return to Detroit -- something that has been public knowledge since the beginning of January.