Calvin Johnson says Aaron Rodgers is the one quarterback he wishes he had a chance to play with

Jordan Cohn
November 12, 2020 - 3:39 pm

In 2006, Calvin Johnson hauled in 76 balls for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior at Georgia Tech. His quarterback was future undrafted free agent Reggie Ball. In 2008, Johnson led the league with 12 receiving touchdowns in addition to 78 catches and 1,331 yards on the 0-16 Detroit Lions. His quarterbacks were Dan Orlovsky, Jon Kitna and Daunte Culpepper. In 2012, Johnson set an NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards and had 122 receptions, the ninth most by a receiver in league history. His quarterback was Matthew Stafford — undeniably a major step up from the guys who previously threw him the ball — but he still played for a 4-12 football team.

With three first-team All-Pro appearances under his belt, he has a strong case for the Hall of Fame despite a brief career without a single playoff win. However, it's hard not to imagine what he could have done had he been a part of a winning team with a top-tier quarterback. In fact, that's probably something that he envisions often, based on just how quickly he responded to a question on that exact topic in a recent interview.

On the latest episode of the SHOWTIME podcast "All The Smoke," hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Megatron was asked about the one quarterback he wishes he could have played for in his NFL career. And with about .03 seconds of hesitation, Johnson responded with a quarterback who has thoroughly dominated the Lions year after year: Aaron Rodgers (go to the 59:12 mark).

Should we be surprised that he immediately named a former division rival? Not exactly. The Lions and Megatron aren't exactly on the best of terms.

While Megatron was on the Lions, Green Bay defeated Detroit 12 times in 16 contests. In one of the Packers' rare losses, Rodgers was injured in what turned out to be a 7-3 snoozefest. In another, Matt Flynn was at the helm while the Lions offense fired on all cylinders, with Johnson recording 101 yards and one touchdown. To be fair, Calvin Johnson only really beat Aaron Rodgers twice in his career as a Lion. It wasn't exactly his fault, though, seeing as he posted 90 catches for 1,409 yards and 15 touchdowns in those 16 clashes. Just imagine what it would have looked like if he was on the other side of the equation.

Despite all of Aaron Rodgers' success, it hasn't been boosted by any amazing, long-lasting wide receivers. Jordy Nelson has produced the most 1,000-yard seasons for Rodgers with four, while Greg Jennings (three) and Donald Driver (two) are the only other two with multiple 1,000-yard campaigns under Rodgers. Davante Adams is the best of all of them, and he's only recently emerged into the star that he is, with his second 1,000-yard season an inevitability by the time 2020 is over.

But a receiver of Calvin Johnson's magnitude with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers? With the Packers' ineptitude at the receiver position this year, it makes me wonder... could this partnership ever come into being?

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