When Matthew Stafford was selected by the Detroit Lions with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the hope was that he would eventually bring a Super Bowl title to the city of Detroit.
Unfortunately, that did not happen and now Stafford is moving on with his career as he has been traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
For those of us who tried to pay close attention to Stafford, it was very difficult as he never really opened up about anything. Unlike most players, Matthew is not on social media, so the only thing we get out of him is what he is willing to share with the media and that has been very little over the past 12 years.
Well, now that Stafford is leaving for LA, he agreed to do an exclusive interview with Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press.
Here is what Stafford had to say in his farewell interview.
On when he made the decision to leave the Lions
“To be honest, Kelly and I probably started talking about it before last season. It was one of those things where, you know, we were hoping that, golly, let's go, I hope this thing takes off and we play great. But if it doesn't, you just knew what was going to happen. They were going to tear it down and rebuild.
“And anytime you switch GMs and a head coach, you know that they're going to want to bring their own people in, and that's going to take time. And I, frankly, didn't feel like I was the appropriate person to oversee that time.”
“In my mind, I felt like I was going to be able to help us go win six, seven, eight games, because I wasn't gonna let us lose more than that, you know? But I probably wasn't good enough (by myself) to help us win more than that. And maybe we don't ever get those top picks that we needed.”
On meeting at end of season with Sheila Ford Hamp and Rod Wood
“I shared my disappointments in not being able to bring them what I ultimately wanted, a championship. It was a tough conversation, probably the hardest one I've ever had, but one that I walked out of, frankly, blown away with their support and their understanding. The respect. I mean, it was pretty incredible.”
Stafford knew that the Lions agreeing to trade him was far from a sure thing. “They had every right to go, ‘Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. But you've got two years left on your deal. So you're going to be here next year.’”
About his chances of being traded to his No. 1 destination
“I just didn't know how they would ever be able to (pull it off.)” Stafford says. “You know, I'm not a salary cap guru. It kind of got to a point where I'm like, OK, I can't sit there and go crazy. I just tried to let it happen. And L.A. aggressively jumped into it.”
On his first reaction to finding out he was traded to the Rams
“Obviously, we were excited for a new start, excited for the whole process of being on the trading block to be over. Now we had a place. We knew where we were going. I was excited about their roster and their coaching staff and what they can bring to the table and their recent success.
“But at the same time, it was a close of the door in Detroit. At that moment it was real.”
Stafford reveals all of the injuries he had this past season
“I mean, this past year was bad,” he admits. “I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That's why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place.
“I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain.”
Stafford says he gave this teams ‘everything damn thing' he had
“Sometimes it's not the perfect storybook ending in the same place,” he says. “But I can leave here knowing that I gave this team every damn thing I had.
“The way that they handled it, I think it's worked out for everybody, and I think it will in the future. I cannot I cannot express how much gratitude I feel towards the Lions for handling it the way they did.
“As much as I'm moving to a place that's got some pieces that are ready to go, I'm also betting on myself too, betting that I'm the person that can take them there. So this is a big challenge for me.”
He pauses, then adds. “But I’m gonna miss the hell out of this place.”
Typical happy-talk Mitch Ego. Doesn’t even touch the Opie and the Pencil situation. A question like “why was New England the only team you refused to go to? Matt Patricia?”
Typical 2021 era fan full of negativity and will criticize every damn thing they see. Matt doesn’t open up to media, never has, he had to play the interview properly and he did just that.
Dont go Det lions need you!
I only watch the lions because of you.and certen other players that already got tradyed for drafts.but never did help the team. The problems that the team has is not you… Its the offence of line.and the defence.
Most of its ford. Owners not wanting to spend the money.71.3 the ticket sucks dont listin fo them. I dont.
Matt dont go. Get better players, and coaching staff.
I wish you and your family all the best was an honor watching you play for the team good luck hope you win a championship you deserve it
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