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    Matthew Stafford’s Top 3 ‘Iron Man’ moments with the Detroit Lions

    There is absolutely no question about it that Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of the toughest players in the National Football League.

    Stafford has proven over and over that he can take a big shot and continue playing if he believes he gives his team the best chance to win.

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    So, what are Stafford's Top 3 'Iron Man' moments with the Detroit Lions? Well, that is a question that Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press answered in a mailbag article from December.

    Here is how Birkett ranks the moments.

    No. 1 - 2009 vs. Cleveland Browns: 

    This has to be No. 1 on the list, when Stafford suffered a separated left shoulder late in a game his rookie season. He was in obvious pain as doctors worked on his shoulder, but re-entered after a Cleveland timeout to throw the winning touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew. Stafford was mic'd up for the game, which provided memorable audio.

    No. 2 - 2015 vs. Minnesota Vikings:

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    I was not covering the team in 2009, so the game I saw that most defines Stafford's toughness came early in the 2015 season, when the Vikings pummeled him with eight quarterback hits that left him moving gingerly and speaking deliberately after the game. Joique Bell recalled the game — and how much pain Stafford was in — in a story I wrote last fall, saying Stafford was "gasping for breath every word" in the huddle.

    No. 3 - December, 2018:

    This was not an on-field moment, but Stafford suffered transverse fractures in his back in a game against the Los Angeles Rams two years ago and played the final four games of the season with the injury. I did not learn how bad his back was until the Senior Bowl more than a month later, but I knew he was in pain — and what he was doing to try and play — when he postponed his weekly media session a few days after the Rams game to get treatment on his back. Amazingly, he led the Lions to a win the next week.

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    We think Birkett nailed this, do you agree?


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