Matthew Stafford terrorized opponents for years with his big arm in the NFC North, so it’s safe to say that many of his rivals in the division are thrilled to see him finally set to move on from the Detroit Lions.
That might not be the case with at least one player, however. Interestingly enough, that guy comes from the Chicago Bears as well, one of Detroit’s hated rivals on the football field in a rivalry that dates back ages.
Rivalry knows no bounds, however, when it comes to giving players a shoutout and recognizing their obvious talent. Recently, after learning about the proposed trade that will ship Stafford out of town to the Los Angeles Rams, Akiem Hicks said that he will miss Stafford and is sad to see him heading out of the division.
Matt Stafford is a great quarterback. Cannon of an arm. Made a lot of big plays for that team. Sad to see him move on. Much respect💯
— akiem hicks (@The_Dream99) February 11, 2021
It’s a classy move for Hicks to tip his cap to Stafford on his way out, and it’s true that Stafford will be missed thanks to the talent he has shown for a long time in the division. That’s something that Bears players are clearly well-aware of after having to go against Stafford for the last decade.
Kyle Long Recently Tossed Lions Some Respect
Hicks hasn’t been the only one sending a bit of love Detroit’s way this offseason. After the Lions hired Dan Campbell, questions surfaced about his ability to be a leader and hire a quality staff. Former Bears lineman Kyle Long figured Campbell could lure talent immediately, and has been proven right in his theory with all of the big moves Campbell and the Lions have made. He also thinks the folks the Lions have hired will guarantee the attention of players on the team.
For a guy that twitter told me no players will ever buy into, Campbell sure is assembling a staff that players will buy into.
— hydrated king chris long (@JOEL9ONE) January 25, 2021
Players have an easier time of relating to respected former player voices, and thus far, all of Detroit’s hires have that experience to rely on. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was a former Super Bowl winning running back, Aaron Glenn was one of the more elite cornerbacks of his era, Duce Staley was a phenomenal and respected running back and Aubrey Pleasant played big-time college football at Wisconsin. Even John Dorsey, who will join the front office, has experience to rely on as a player.
As Long would likely point out, things like that can go a long way in terms of forging respect between a staff and its players. Like Hicks, he wasn’t shy about sharing a positive word as it relates to the Lions.
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Matthew Stafford Has Dominated Bears Statistically
It would be easy to see why anyone in Chicago could be happy that Stafford was moving on. In his career, the Bears have been torched by Stafford to the tune of 5,440 passing yards and 32 touchdowns. Chicago did intercept Stafford 23 times and sack him 49 times, but Detroit’s quarterback does have a winning record against the Bears, going 11-9 in his career all-time.
Stafford won’t see the Bears as much now, but it won’t prevent some of their players from recognizing his overall talent as he leaves, which is neat to see.