Receiver Calvin Johnson committed to Lions


Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

Allen Park— Of course Calvin Johnson is frustrated.

He’s in his fourth season with the Lions, having a Pro Bowl-level year, and yet his team has won four games the last three seasons.

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How could Johnson notbe frustrated?But, as he said Friday, he’s not making any threats or ultimatums, and he’s certainly not throwing in the towel. He just wants to win.

“All I meant was, everybody’s frustrated,” Johnson said, explaining comments he made on a local radio show Thursday. “We’ve been losing. … I’ve been here four years and haven’t had a winning season. For the most part, it’s just a lot of frustration. Everybody in here wants to win.

“We’re working toward it. There’s been a lot of progress and we’re getting closer.”

Johnson can be a free agent in two years, and he was asked during the interview if he’d consider leaving if things didn’t improve.

“Put it this way, if we turn this into a winner, I’m happy,” Johnson said. “Losing definitely (is a bummer) and you definitely don’t want to be around losing.”

When told Friday it sounded like he was issuing a challenge to the Lions, Johnson said, “I don’t know what it sounded like. The bottom line is winning.”

Coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan were far from taken aback by Johnson’s comments. They supported them.

“What I get from it is he’s a winner and he’s frustrated with not winning,” Linehan said. “There’s not anybody around here that doesn’t agree with him. It’s lousy and we want to be able to step up and turn this thing around.”

Said Schwartz: “We need to worry about Sunday and the last four games of this season. We don’t need to be worrying about what’s going to happen two years from now. You know, we worry about a lot of things with this team; Calvin Johnson isn’t one of them. He’s having an outstanding year, he’s a productive player and he’s a huge part of what we’re doing, not only in the game plan but also in terms of what we want to do as an organization.

“The only quote I saw was, ‘I want to win.’ And that’s everybody here.”

Johnson isn’t griping about not getting the ball.

He understands the team is on its third quarterback.

He understands he draws double coverage every week.

And, he’s still producing.

He has 62 catches (12th in the league) for 873 yards (ninth) and 12 touchdowns (second).

“The thing I’m most frustrated with Calvin is, I don’t know why he’s not leading for the Pro Bowl,” Linehan said. “What he’s been able to do with us having to adjust to playing our second quarterback and then our third quarterback, and to still be near the top in just about every statistical category is amazing to me.”

Linehan was asked if Johnson has ever complained to him about his role.

“No, never,” Linehan said. “He never complains. All Calvin does is work hard and give 100 percent every day. Calvin is a model for what you’re trying to get from a teammate and a player you want to coach.”

On two different occasions, Johnson said he had no issues with the progress the team was making or the direction it was headed in.

“There’s been a lot of progress,” he said. “There is a whole new squad in here. We’ve been close in so many games. I don’t see guys giving up. Everybody’s still fighting. That’s a positive. There are a lot of good things going on here we just haven’t turned into wins yet.”

Linehan probably summed the whole thing up best.

“You can get into discussions about what you are frustrated about, but the bottom line is, start winning some games and we won’t be talking about some of the things we’re talking about now,” he said.

Extra points

The Lions placed receiver Derrick Williams on season-ending injured reserve Friday.

Williams (high right ankle sprain) recently moved past Bryant Johnson as the team’s No. 3 receiver.

The Lions signed veteran receiver Brian Clark to replace Williams on the roster.

… Starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus (knee) missed his second straight practice Friday and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Packers.

Corey Hilliard will replace Cherilus.

Packers at Lions

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox/WXYT

Records: Packers 8-4, Lions 2-10

Series: Packers lead 89-64-7 (Packers 28-26 on Oct. 3)

Line: Packers by 61/2

chris.mccosky@detnews.com

(313) 222-1489

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