FreePress Dave Burkett and Carlos Monares on January 4, 2021, sports writers discuss who the Detroit Lions should appoint as general manager and head coach.

Detroit Free Press

Calvin Johnson He is the finalist in Professional Football Hall of Fame In two weeks he will discover if he will be the first Detroit black A modern-day player picked in Canton since Barry Sanders.

Johnson is one of four first-year qualifiers among 15 finalists for the 2021 category, along with center-back Peyton Manning, corner back Charles Woodson and defensive finale Jared Allen.

He played nine seasons in the NFL and retired as Lions leader of all time In the receiving yards, receiving landings and catches. Only Julio Jones, Jerry Rice, and Tory Holt earned more yards in the first nine seasons of their careers.

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“It’s one of the best receivers that have ever played the game in my opinion,” Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said last week. “I was training in Cincinnati and we had – he made an incredible catch. We had three guys, who had an incredible catch, about 50 yards for a landing. But the game’s plans always revolved around him every time you play whether he cheated players there or double or whatever Of those things. “

Johnson has been in the Pro Bowl six times And All-Pro three times, I collected 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 drops. He retired after the 2015 season at the age of 30. It was one of four receivers named after Team All-decade NFL 2010s Last spring.

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Manning and Woodson consider locks for the 2021 category, which will feature up to five modern-day players. The list of 15 finalists will be reduced to 10 during a virtual selection meeting on January 19. From there, the class is reduced to five finalists, and then a yes or no vote for the five finalists.

Holt and Reggie Wayne are the other ballot recipients. Other finalists include offensive line players Tony Boselli and Alan Vanica, midfielders Sam Mills, Zach Thomas and Clay Matthews Jr., defensive line-up Richard Seymour, safety personnel John Lynch and Leroy Butler, and Round Barber.

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48 Hall of Fame determinants will also vote yes or no on Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson, finalists in Coach, Contributor and Senior Class.

Since 1985, only three recipients – Rice, Randy Moss and Steve Largent – have been selected in Canton on the first ballot.

Johnson has been in a financial dispute since his retirement with the Lions, but Team Leader Rodwood said Tuesday that the organization “Very supportive of Calvin’s Hall of Fame nomination. “

Call me crazy but Lions have several reasons for hope entering uncertain future ]

Johnson told the Free Press in August that it would be a “great honor” to be the Famer’s first ballot.

Johnson said, “The guys I just mentioned. Randy, Largent, Jerry. Immense respect.” “I followed these guys coming in. I wanted to take certain things out of all these guys’ game and put them together in my game. Not only these guys, but other greats here as well, but they’re definitely admired.”

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Dave Birkett is a Hall of Fame elector. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter Embed a Tweet