Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is known for his toughness and competitive spirit, going as far as to play through having broken bones in his back last season.
And despite having had to miss the past two contests with lingering issues from that injury, he still wants to get back out there – despite there being no conceivable reason why he should do so.
“I think for me, if I’m healthy enough to go play, I’m going to go play,” he said. “And every time I step out on the football field, the next week, the next play, the next year’s health is in question, because it’s a violent game. So I understand that. But for me, if I’m healthy enough to go play, I’m going to go play.”
“Listen, I’m doing everything I can to get out there as fast as possible,” he continued. “Obviously, it’s not just myself going through it. There’s a bunch of people that are looking into it, a bunch of people that go into the decision on when is the best time for me to come back and all that, but I’m doing everything I can to be back out there as soon as possible.”
Football is what he's made for, and as a competitive player, his desire to be back out with his teammates playing the game he loves is overpowering any thoughts of the injury he's working to come back from.
“This is what I love to do,” Stafford said. “I love playing football, I appreciate all the hard work that all the guys in this locker room and in this organization put into going out there and trying to win games on Sunday and I love being a part of that.
“It’s tough for me to sit there without the pads on and not be able to impact the game on the field the way I’m used to doing, so that’s driving me to get back out there. And whenever we all deem it’s the right time for me to get back out there, I’ll be out there.”
The Lions are 3-6-1 heading into this weekend's contest against the Washington Redskins, good for last in the NFC North. Even though Detroit's playoff hopes are all but officially done for, Stafford still is itching to get back into the swing of things.
He declined to elaborate on why he was able to play last year through his injury and not this year, however.
“It's a conversation that’s private between me, the head coach, doctors, all that,” he said.