The Detroit Lions recently announced signing Calvin Johnson and linebacker Stephen Tulloch. Both signings were move in the right direction that notes the Lions are getting serious about winning.
Tulloch gambled on himself by signing a one-year deal last summer with the Detroit Lions and it paid off with a five-year contract worth $25.5 million, including $11.25 million guaranteed according to a person familiar with the deal.
“I dreamed about this moment my whole life,” the 27-year-old Tulloch said at a news conference following his signing.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz were pretty fired up about it, too.
“He’s a really important part of what we’re doing,” Mayhew said. “So we’re excited to have Stephen back.”
Detroit has been able to retain all the players, other than cornerback Eric Wright, that it wanted to bring back from the franchise’s first playoff team since the 1999 season.
Tulloch made a team-high 111 tackles with the Lions when he was reunited with Schwartz, his defensive coordinator in Tennessee.
“He’s everything that is right with the NFL and the game of football,” Schwartz said. “I get a little choked up because I’ve known Stephen since he was 20 years old.”
The Lions also resigned Johnson to a new eight-year contract beginning with the 2012 season and extending through the 2019 season. No other contract terms were disclosed.
Through five NFL seasons, Johnson has established himself as one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL. The two-time Pro Bowler and 2011 All-Pro selection joined only five other players (Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Lance Alworth, Marvin Harrison and Larry Fitzgerald) in NFL history to register 45-plus touchdown catches and 5,500-plus receiving yards through their first five seasons.
Since the 2008 season, Johnson ranks first in the NFL with 45 receiving touchdowns, second in receiving yards (5,116) and third (tie) in the NFL with 49 receptions of 25+ yards. Including his 2007 rookie season, Johnson’s 49 touchdowns tie for second in the NFL over that five-year span.
Johnson’s career totals of 366 receptions for 5,872 yards and 49 touchdowns are the most by any Lions receiver through their first five seasons. He reached 5,000 career receiving yards (69 games) and 300 receptions (66 games) faster than any receiver in team history. Prior to Johnson’s arrival, no receiver in team history ever registered 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in more than one season and he accomplished that three times (2008, 2010 and 2011) in his first five seasons.
As he has ascended to the upper echelon of NFL wide receivers, 2011 was his best and the most-prolific in Lions history as he helped lead the Lions back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. He garnered career highs in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,681) and touchdowns (16). He broke the team’s single-season receiving touchdowns record that was held by E Cloyce Box (15, 1952) for the past 59 seasons. Johnson led the NFL with 1,681 receiving yards.
Yes, it appears Detroit is serious about winning, Tullock and Johnson were the key defensive and offensive players the team needed to coral to stay on the national stage as an NFL team to be dealt with.
“My heart was still here in Detroit,” Tulloch said.
Johnson said: “This is where I want to be. Detroit is a great football town and we are trying to bring a consistent winning team to these great fans.
The Lions, unlike past years, wanted to keep their best players instead of trying to upgrade talent by looking elsewhere.