Although nothing is official yet when it comes to Calvin Johnson's future, many people are already discussing what's next for the Detroit Lions wide receiver. And that means plenty of Hall of Fame speculation.
Former San Francisco 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, a Hall of Famer himself (Class of 2000), thinks Johnson will be inducted in his first year of eligibility.
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He'll be a first-ballot guy. In those nine seasons he's allowed all of us to know that he can be just as good as Jerry Rice. And that's key.
Fellow Hall of Famer Andre Reed (Class of 2014), who played 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, isn't so sure.
Via the Free Press:
I'm not going to say he's a first-ballot (selection). I don't know if he's first ballot. Is he a Hall of Fame-caliber guy? Yeah. Does he get in? I couldn't even tell you. I mean, from his line of work, it's going to be a difficult one for him because regardless of the record he has and all that stuff, nine years, you look at the longevity at any position.
The biggest factor working against Johnson, as both Lott and Reed point out, is his lack of longevity. If he does retire this year, he will have played fewer than 10 seasons in the NFL. As dominant as he was during that span, that's typically not enough time to rack up a first-ballot résumé.
Johnson will be eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame in 2021, if he does not return for the 2016 season.