ALLEN PARK, Michigan — Calvin Johnson has drawn comparisons to Barry Sanders in Detroit.
Both made spectacular plays for the Lions. Off the field, they were quiet and humble.
The superstar receiver and Hall of Fame running back might have one more thing in common this offseason.
"Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future," Johnson said Wednesday. "I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future."
Johnson has declined to say if he will restructure his contract, which calls for him to count $24 million against the salary cap next season.
If the option Johnson chooses is retirement, he will walk away from the game despite having the physical ability to play more just as Sanders did at the same age. The 30-year-old Johnson didn't elaborate on his options in a joint release sent by the Lions.
"We obviously have profound respect for Calvin and certainly understand and appreciate his decision to give proper thought and consideration to his football future," the team said.
The Lions drafted Johnson No. 2 overall in 2007 and he has been a source of pride every season. Even when the team had losing seasons, including 2008 when it became the NFL's first 0-16 team, Johnson gave fans in the Motor City a reason to cheer.
Johnson broke one of Jerry Rice's single-season records three years ago with 1,964 yards receiving. He had 88 receptions for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015, and 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 TDs in his career.
"He's one of the quietest guys I've been around and he works as hard if not harder than anyone else," Lions receiver Lance Moore, a 10-year NFL veteran, said in November. "He's a student of the game even though he's the best in the game. You should see him take notes. We get scripts of what we're going to work on and he takes notes like no one I've ever seen. He sits next to me and every now and again, I'll ask to see what he's writing."