With the Lions mini camps coming to an end earlier this month, a reporter asked receiver Nate Burleson to name a teammate who stood out the most or surprised him during the camp. Burleson’s answer, Calvin Johnson.
“I know it sounds corny,” Burleson said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “You wouldn’t think a guy like that could come back and get better, but he does”. He went on to add that Johnson looks “stronger” and “faster”. “That’s pretty much all that counts,” Burleson said. “He probably dropped a little bit of weight, so he’s in extremely good shape. I see him in the weight room, so I know he’s stronger. And on the field he’s yards ahead of us in conditioning drills; he’s still running past guys easily.”
If Johnson actually did improve over the off-season, those facing the Lions this year should be scared. In 20111, he set career highs with 96 catches for a league-leading 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns; he finished the year with three 200-yard receiving games in the last four weeks, including the playoffs.
On March 14, 2012, Johnson signed an 8-year extension worth $132 million with the Detroit Lions, with $60 million guaranteed, making Johnson the highest-paid receiver in the league. Last year, Johnson helped lead the Lions to their first playoff appearance in twelve years.
It is hard to imagine he can become any stronger or faster but if he has he could be a fantasy football steal this year.