The Calvin Johnson/Julio Jones comparison

Detroit's Calvin Johnson reportedly contemplates a farewell to the NFL at the tender age of 30. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Detroit’s Calvin Johnson reportedly contemplates a farewell to the NFL at the tender age of 30. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Julio Jones turns 27 Wednesday.

Happy birthday to him.

And a sobering reminder to Falcons fans: The clock never stops ticking; the window never stops closing.

We were reminded once more of those immutable laws of time and physiology this weekend with the reports that former Georgia Tech receiver and current Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson was prepared to retire. At the age of 30. Just three years north of Julio Jones.

The talk was that Johnson had grown weary of playing with achy knees and ankles, and would turn his back on the nearly $68 million still owed him on a Lions contract that runs through 2019. He could also be on the hook for $3 million of the signing bonus that came with that contract. Ouch. If he actually does leave all that on the table, that would tell you far more about the physical toll of nine years in the League than any doctor’s note or full body scan.

Then there is the pain of playing for the Lions. They paired with the best receiver of his time, for a time, to accomplish shockingly little of substance. Seven of his nine seasons in Detroit were losing ones. They made two postseason appearances and bowed out without a victory. The season Jones set the single-season receiver record (2012), the Lions went 4-12. He had a 1,330-yard receiving season the year the Lions went 0-16 (2008). His Hall of Fame candidacy, whenever that does arise, will have to answer to that losing legacy.

It’s still hard to believe that Johnson would just close up shop, that this is not some maneuver to get out of the Motor City. But, then, Detroit is particularly adept at wasting singular talents – see Barry Sanders.

Julio Jones visits the endzone in Hawaii during the weekend's Pro Bowl. (Getty Images)

Julio Jones visits the endzone in Hawaii during the weekend’s Pro Bowl. (Getty Images)

With a couple winning seasons to start his career, Jones has had it comparatively good. Still, for all this franchise has invested in him, the city will be met with many of the same regrets if the Falcons do not kick it in during his brief prime.

The Falcons receiver is built very much along the same lines as Johnson. His first five seasons in the NFL compare more than favorably with a similar span for Johnson – Jones holding the edge in catches (414-366) and yards (6,201-5,872). Johnson leads in receiving touchdowns (49-34).

And with a couple foot surgeries already behind Jones, there always looms the possibility of a career cut short. Who knows how the aches and pains will compound for Jones?

So, happy birthday, Julio. And keep outrunning time for just as long as you can.

Reader Comments 0

9 comments
ZAZ
ZAZ

I can't function if we don't have 5 of something!

harrisgottliebyahoocom
harrisgottliebyahoocom

Your concern about Megatron "passing up on $68 million" seems to overlook the millions he has already been paid during his 9 seasons. The payroll of professional athletes has become unfathomable. Calvin Johnson deserved to be among the highest paid in Pro Football, but in comparison to most of the people who buy tickets there is such a huge reality gap that "regular guys" can barely afford those tickets.

MickDee
MickDee

@harrisgottliebyahoocom If you don't like what these players make, cancel your cable.  That's what pays them.  It's not the tickets so much, it's the ESPN, NFL, FOX, CBS etc revenue paid to the teams.


You either pay the players or pay the owners when you pay your cable/satellite bill.

candlin14
candlin14

Until we understand that defenses and strong offensive lines win championships this city will NEVER see one. I like Julio, he is a beast, but a make shift offensive line and a one god awful Offensive Coordinator has made Matt Ryan look like a Rookie. 


Get a defense ATL and start looking for a new GM. You have FIVE to choose from right now and you still go with the worst one!!!

Nate TheDaddy
Nate TheDaddy

@candlin14 As a Lions fan i concur.  One thing though, I question Matt Ryan's heart and passion, give me Stafford over him anyday.

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

Julio is the only true talent this team has.  Sadly it appears the Falcons have regressed to their historical level of incompetence/losing.  The winning seasons streak was great but it was fools gold.  We have a meddling owner and an incompetent GM (Dummytroff).  They all lack the wherewithal to fix the mess they created.  Sadly for Quinn in another season or two he'll be the scapegoat for Blank/Dummytroff and he'll never have another shot at a HeadCoaching job.  We're the Cleveland Browns/Detroit Lions of the South!

Nate TheDaddy
Nate TheDaddy

@AdmiralObvious53 - I'm a Lions fan, you don't know losing.  i don't care if was 20 years ago, you got to see your team in a SuperBowl, and they played good and barely lost.  Lions fans would kill to just see them get there, just once at least...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Nate TheDaddy 

Quitcher whining!

NO fans know losing like those of "Losersville"!

At least your city has experienced championship success in the other major sports.

For ATL, it's ONE championship in 164 seasons of pro sports competition spanning half a damn century--a level of futility matched by virtually no city, including yours!