Lions Legends Send Classy Farewell to Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford waives to fans after he leaves a 2014 game.

Matthew Stafford will move on from the Detroit Lions at the start of the new league year, and it’s been tough for everyone to see the franchise fixture exit stage left.

That’s true whether you’re a fan or a former player and franchise legend. Over the weekend, as the rest of the world was learning about the Stafford deal, so too were Barry Sanders and Herman Moore. The duo would know a thing or two about playing in Detroit, and given they watch the Lions closely, they also know how much Stafford means to the team.

After Detroit shipped their quarterback out of town for Jared Goff and a package of draft picks, the luminaries took time to wish Stafford well upon his big move. First, Sanders took time out to show some love to Stafford.

Moore joined him with a solid tweet of his own thanking Stafford for 12 great years with the Lions playing quarterback.

Detroit’s legendary players are lining up behind Stafford giving him support as he makes his next move in the league which is excellent to see. The legends are wishing Stafford well heading to his new place, largely knowing what he represented for the team.

Barry Sanders: Moving on From Matthew Stafford Not Easy

Sanders had his own emotional split with the Lions more than a decade ago, so he is very keen to situations such as this and how they play out. As a result, his take on the matter is certainly interesting and appreciated, and he got to provide it for the first time since news that Stafford and the Lions were splitting first broke over the weekend.

Joining Good Morning Football last week, Sanders was asked right off the bat during his interview about the about Stafford and the Lions looking to spilt. As he said, Stafford could be tough to replace.

Sanders said:

“It will be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford who I feel in a lot of ways has carried the franchise for the last decade. A guy who showed up every day, you felt like you always had a chance with Matt. So maybe because of the new regime coming in and seeing things different, things like this sometimes happen. I know Matt has a lot of good football left in him. I know as a Lions fan I wish him well, and it’ll certainly be very difficult to replace a guy like that who’s put up the kind of numbers he has in his career.”

Replacing Stafford is what the Lions now have to go about, and with Jared Goff, it looks as if they have at least taken a step to do that. Regardless of what happens, Sanders is right in that completely replacing Stafford off the bat will not be easy to do. It remains to be seen how Goff transitions to the role, although he’s certainly looking motivated.

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Parallels Between Matthew Stafford and Barry Sanders

If Sanders knows how Stafford could feel at this very moment, it’s because he lived the same reality without a trade playing out. Sanders retired on the eve of training camp in 1999, and many always hinted that he was fed up with the losing and didn’t want to continue. The same could be said for Calvin Johnson, who retired in 2015 after a 10 year career. Stafford isn’t walking away, though, and is looking to perhaps add to his legacy in the next handful of years on the field.

Sanders has already gone down as on of the best to ever play the game, and according to some, Stafford could have that distinction as well when all is said and done if he is able to do some bigger winning upon leaving the Lions. It’s clear both Moore and Sanders understand what Stafford meant to the city, the team and the fans.

READ NEXT: Super Bowl Winning Coach Praises Lions Trade for Jared Goff

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