At long last, Calvin Johnson and the Lions seem to be mending the fence.
Owner Sheila Ford Hamp was in contact with Johnson around the time of his Hall of Fame induction last month, and president Rod Wood said Wednesday the two sides are moving toward a reconciliation ahead of Johnson's enshrinement in Canton in August.
"We’re working actively with Calvin and his team on celebrations at the Hall of Fame and continuing to have conversations with him," Wood said. "I know he’s mentioned publicly that he’s connected with Sheila and that’s a positive step. So we’ll continue to celebrate with him and I think the relationship is headed in the right direction."
Johnson has said many times he wants nothing to do with the Lions until they repay the portion of his signing bonus they took back following his early retirement in 2016. For a long while, the organization wouldn't budge.
That seems to have changed based on recent comments from both Johnson and Ford Hamp.
"I know that myself and Sheila Hamp, we've had some great conversations recently," Johnson said last month upon entering the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. "It's been good to get to know her and just really have those face-to-face conversations, so I think we're moving in the right direction."
In January, Hamp said it was her hope to "repair things" with Johnson, the Lions' all-time leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83).
"He was obviously an amazing player for us and we're going to continue to reach out to him, because I think it's important that he come back into the Lions family," said Hamp.