John Matthew Stafford is one of the toughest players in the NFL. That is a fact.
As Stafford enters his 11th season with the Detroit Lions, he has proven time and time again that he will do whatever it takes to help his team win, even if that means playing injured.
Over the years, Stafford has suffered injuries that surely would have sidelined most players in the league but sitting out is always a last resort thing for him.
But how long can Stafford, who is 31, continue playing? How long does he want to play?
In an exclusive interview with Kevin Clark of The Ringer, Stafford talked about how he is able to play through pain and what it would take for him to stop playing football.
From The Ringer:
“It’s all mental,” he says. “I feel like I can just go to a place where I just never think about not playing. The second I think about it, it makes the decision harder. That’s the best way to describe it. I work really hard for 16 chances, and I’m going to take advantage of that.”
When asked about how long he wants to play the game of football, Stafford said he loves the game and wants to play for a long time.
“I want to play as long as I can without sacrificing too much of my health in the long run. If too many things pile up, it makes that decision a little more loaded, but I love this game, and I want to play it for a long time,” he says.
Stafford was recently asked by reporters if Andrew Luck retiring early has changed his thinking about his own career and he said he has not given any thought to retirement.
“It doesn’t change my thought process. I think everybody’s in their own different situation. Everybody is their own human being. I respect the hell out of Andrew. He’s a great player in this league, a warrior out on the football field, a great player when he was healthy, and rolling. I’m happy for him if he’s happy. If that’s what makes him happy man, I’m really happy for him. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Nation, how long do you think Stafford will play football?