WXYZ — To say Matthew Stafford had a turbulent week isn’t fair.
The last 14 months for the face of the lions franchise, has easily been one of the most turbulent story lines in the NFL that almost no one outside the city of Detroit is talking about.
NFL players are trained to be robots to the media, and Stafford doesn’t use social media, so trying to get into the mind of number 9, especially during the season is tough, but after the Vikings loss, in which he left early with a head injury, he shared some of what makes him who he is, and why we’re lucky to have a leader like him represent our city.
The pressure on the football field is heightened for 60 minutes for 16 Sunday’s a year.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is used to it, and frankly, thrives in it, with 36 career game winning drives, tied for fourth all-time, he’s proven it.
But pressure is fickle, and too much of it can compound, and cause cracks.
However it would be short sighted to say that Stafford’s foundation is Lions football, it’s not. It’s his wife and growing family that keep Stafford grounded, and there’s been more than enough pressure that comes with being a father of four and being the face of a franchise, especially during a pandemic.
This week, Stafford was placed on the reserve/COVID list, a designation for players who either tested positive or had been in close proximity of someone with COVID-19. He was forced to quarantine away from his family in a hotel room, unable to help with his favorite duty, being a dad.
“I just hate being away from my family, finishing a practice, finishing a game, go hug my daughters, hug my wife, that’s what sometimes makes it worth it for me and not being able to see them and hang with them has been really tough,” Stafford said.
Stafford’s third daughter, Hunter, fell out of her high chair earlier this week on her head, and suffered a concussion. Kelly shared details of the accident that would scare anyone who is a parent, and to not have her partner there for support and help, made her lash out at the NFL’s policy on disclosing injuries because she felt that no one was willing to help the family for fear they were infected. Stafford nearly broke his quarantine and began driving home to help his daughter and wife.
All of these factors, combined with the mounting losses as his career continues to plod on, add a different type of pressure.
Stafford rarely opens up to the media, but today, he finally did, and did so with the selflessness he’s always displayed.
“It weights on me, I got a lot more greys in my beard now than I used to, but that might just be age too. I live playing this game, this year has been difficult for everybody, everybody in the league, everybody around the world, this is a really unique situation and a really tough one. I’m one of the people lucky enough to get to do their job, as tough as it is, there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have a job anymore because of this stuff so, I feel blessed to be able to do what I do and I’ve got great support, I’ve got great support from my wife and family and kids and everybody, so it makes it easy, obviously not seeing them is tough but there’s a lot of people not seeing their kids for lots of different reasons so just got to push forward and try and be better,” Stafford added.