Calvin Johnson's acrimonious relationship with the only NFL franchise he played for is thawing. It took a change in leadership and some hard conversations to get to this point, but the second-best player in Detroit Lions franchise history is finally open to the idea of reconciliation.
In an interview with the media following his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Johnson revealed he's had "great conversations" with new Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp on a face-to-face basis and the two sides are "moving in the right direction."
That's the first time we've heard anything positive about the Lions come out of Johnson's mouth since the franchise made the inexcusable mistake of forcing him to repay a portion of his signing bonus after Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL. That cheap move led to Johnson separating himself from the team he played all nine seasons of his career for, but now it appears the Lions want to make amends.
Hamp took over control of the organization in June after her mother, Martha Firestone Ford, stepped down as owner. Hamp has already made sweeping changes at head coach and general manager this year. She's now primed to right a wrong done to the most dominant Lions player ever besides Barry Sanders.
What the reconciliation will look like is unclear. Bringing Johnson back as an advisor and paying him the money the franchise took back from him seems like a smart first step. Nothing has been finalized publicly yet, but it's good to see the two sides taking steps to thaw the relationship once frozen by money.