Lions great Barry Sanders, who was once in a dispute with the team over bonus money, weighed in Wednesday on fellow Lions great Calvin Johnson, who currently is involved a dispute with the team over bonus money, Carlos Monarrez and Greg Levinsky of the Detroit Free Press report.
“It’s tough,” Sanders said after playing in the pro-am of the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. “Each case is different.”
Johnson retired unexpectedly after the 2015 season. When he made his retirement official, the Lions forced him to repay a seven-figure portion of the $16-million signing bonus he received four years earlier.
Sanders, like Johnson, was forced to repay a seven-figure portion of his signing bonus when he retired abruptly before the 1999 season. Sanders stayed away from Lions functions for years before he recently returned to work for the team as an ambassador.
“Hey, that’s a tough check to write,” Sanders said about repaying the bonus money. “In the NFL you realize it’s a business and they have to handle things on their side of it the way that they do.
“So I don’t have any advice other than I think over time then you’ll probably see the two sides come together. You think they’d be able to reach some agreement. But I wish Calvin well. We’d love to have him back around, especially the fans, what have you.”
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