ESPN The Magazine: Calvin Johnson profile

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
12:33
PM ET
As you know, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson graces the cover of ESPN The Magazine's 2012 NFL preview. We revealed the cover Tuesday as well as a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot.

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesLions receiver Calvin Johnson says he avoids the post-game media for very specific reasons.
Wednesday, we have Elizabeth Merrill's accompanying profile story, one that offers as much insight into Johnson's ultra-private personal life as anyone has mustered. An excerpt:
About the only person who is not transfixed by Calvin Johnson is Calvin Johnson. He sits alone in his penthouse on the last Saturday before the start of Lions training camp, and his TV is on full blast to the movie "Alien: Resurrection." The fact that he has invited a member of the media into his offseason home, on the 34th floor of a high-rise that juts out of Atlanta's Buckhead district, is somewhat of a shocker.

Johnson doesn't shun the media -- he's too polite for that -- but let's just say he doesn't have much use for them. There was an eagerly anticipated Q&A on the Lions' website this past spring dubbed "Getting to Know Calvin Johnson." Johnson, mind you, had been with the team for five years by then. Through a series of one-sentence answers, the most revealing tidbit from the man who will grace the cover of Madden 13 was that Johnson watches "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" religiously.

"During the season," Johnson admits, "I dodge the media, kind of. It's not that I'm trying to avoid them, but I know if they get ahold of me, there's going to be, like, 10 people around me, and I'm going to have to answer question after question where in that time, after practice, I need to be taking care of my body and recovering."

On this evening, at the end of an offseason in which a number of his teammates made headlines for various scuffles with the law, Johnson is doing laundry. He used to have a maid, but she wasn't all that meticulous, and he figured he could do a better job himself. His penthouse, by 26-year-old bachelor standards, is immaculate. A red candle burns on a countertop in the kitchen. It smells like potpourri."

Make sure you read until the end, where you'll find a revealing glimpse into Johnson's personality via the artwork he chose to display near his kitchen.

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