Matthew Stafford doesn’t see Calvin Johnson coming back to Lions

As much as he’d love to have him back, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn’t think receiver Calvin Johnson has any designs of returning in 2016.

Johnson retired this offseason after a frustrating season in which he dealt with nagging injuries. He’ll certainly be welcomed back if he does decide to change his mind, but Stafford expects him to stay the course.

“For me, I take him very seriously at his word,” Stafford said in an interview with WJR-AM in Detroi, via MLive.com. “I’m sure he’s going to miss football. It was a big part of his life. But at the same time, I think he’s happy with his decision and he’s at peace with it. I know he’ll still pull for us, but in my mind, I don’t see (a return) happening.”

Stafford also said he just wants Johnson to “be happy” and that he believes his old running mate is “at peace” with his decision to retire.

And so, it appears at this point that Johnson will indeed become the second legendary Lions playmaker to call it quits before his prime is up, which must depress the fans in Detroit more than a little. It also appears Mark Wahlberg won’t get his wish for Johnson to join the New England Patriots — this isn’t a scam by the receiver to join Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Stafford and the Lions will have a tough time replacing the consistent production Calvin Johnson provided the past nine seasons. He averaged 81 catches for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns per season throughout his career.