DETROIT (AP) Calvin Johnson says NFL players could get painkillers like they were ''candy'' during the first half of his career with the Detroit Lions.

Johnson's comments were part of a wide-ranging interview on ESPN's news magazine E:60 that was scheduled to be broadcast Thursday night.

The record-breaking receiver retired earlier this year, leaving the Lions at the age of 30 after nine seasons. Johnson says in the interview it would have been hard to ''let go'' if the Lions would have been a contender. Detroit was 7-9 last year, its seventh season with a losing record with Johnson on the team.

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He had 731 career receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. Johnson broke one of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's records in 2012 with 1,964 yards receiving.