Niles business owner recalls his NFL Draft experience

Published 11:03 am Friday, April 28, 2023

NILES — Dowagiac native Caleb Murphy is hoping to hear his name called during the draft this weekend. While NFL draft preparation is something few in the country are able to experience, one local business owner is very familiar with the process.

Detroit Lions great and NFL Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, co-owner of Primitiv, 1286 S. 11th St. remembers the preparation that led to him becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

“It’s really just finding a good trainer to help get your body ready for the season, because you have to go through a different experience than you’re used to,” he said. “You’ve got more games, and with that, comes more perils with playing in the league, more chances to get injured. The more you harden your body around those joints and muscles that take all the impact over the course of a long season.”

In nine seasons, Johnson finished his career with 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns in his nine seasons, made six Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams, and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Johnson holds the league record for receiving yards in a season with 1,964 in 2012. He is the second player in franchise history to make the Hall of Fame on their first try, joining Barry Sanders.

For Johnson, hearing his name called was a moment he won’t soon forget.

“It was a dream come true,” Johnson said. “It was the best thing that happened so far in my life at that point. To be able to live out a dream like that was special.”