Barry Sanders says it will be “tough” to replace Matthew Stafford

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If there’s anything that fans of the Detroit Lions know too well, it’s the pain of losing a franchise player.

Legendary RB Barry Sanders decided to hang up the cleats on the eve of Training Camp in 1999, while other-worldly receiver Calvin Johnson called it a career with time still left on his contract.

And now, the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford are on the verge of going their separate ways.

Sanders himself reacted to the news, stating that it’s disappointing for him as a fan of the team, and that it won’t be easy finding a replacement for the player who’s been under center in Detroit for the past 12 seasons.

However, Sanders acknowledged that it’s likely the appropriate time for both sides to move on.

“It sounds like both parties kind of were at that point,” Sanders said on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Tuesday morning. “It’ll be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford who’s really, I feel like in a lot of ways, carried the franchise for the last decade and a guy who showed up every day.”

“You felt like you always had a chance with Matt. Maybe because of the new regime coming in and just seeing things different, things like this sometimes happen. I know Matt has a lot of good football left in him, so I know as a Lions fan I wish him well. It’ll certainly be very difficult to replace a guy like that who’s put up the kind of numbers that he has over his career.”

A new full-time starting quarterback will be one of the more significant changes for the Lions in recent years, despite going through several head coaches during Stafford’s tenure in Detroit.

– – Quotes via Steven Tarento of 247Sports Link – –