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Former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (#81)

Calvin Johnson: The NFL's original 'Megatron'

During his breakout NFL season in 2020, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf has been dubbed "The new Megatron." Naturally, curiosity has risen among NFL fans as to who the original "Megatron" was.

To answer that, we will have to go back 13 years to the 2007 NFL Draft. That's when the Detroit Lions used the No. 2 overall pick to select Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson.


At 6'5" and about 240 pounds, Calvin Johnson was a giant of a human being who was coming off a strong showing at the NFL's pre-draft scouting combine. His 40-yard dash time of 4.35 seconds is still the fastest time by a player 6'5" or taller, regardless of position, at the combine.

Since he was so big, strong and fast as a rookie, Johnson was given the moniker "Megatron" by fellow Lions wide receiver Roy Williams. The nickname was taken from the alien robot character Megatron from the Transformers cartoon and movie franchise.

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As Calvin Johnson gained fame due to his highlight-reel catches and insane receiving stats, the nickname too gained popularity and it soon became a staple among commentators and fans alike.

Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. "Megatron," played nine seasons for the Lions. He finished with 11,619 yards on 731 receptions and scored 83 touchdowns. Johnson holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a single season (1,964 yards in 2012).


Johnson also holds multiple franchise records for the Detroit Lions, such as most receiving touchdowns in a season (16 TDs in 2011), most career receiving touchdowns (83), most career receiving yards(11,619), most receiving yards in a single game (329) and most career receptions (731). Those 329 yards in a single game fell just seven yards short of the all-time NFL record, 336 yards by Los Angeles Rams receiver Flipper Anderson in 1989.

Calvin Johnson retired from the NFL after the 2015 season when he was only 30 years old. Similar to another Detroit Lions legend, running back Barry Sanders, Johnson retired when he was relatively young and still considered to be in his prime. Had he kept playing, who knows how many more records he could've broken.

Even after cutting his own career short, "Megatron" is a surefire bet to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Today, Calvin Johnson is on the board of directors of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association and has plans to launch several cannabis facilities across the state under the brand name Primative. He was also a part of the reality show "Dancing with the Stars" in 2016, finishing third in the competition.


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Edited by
Amaar Burton
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