Stafford will be heading out west to take over the Los Angeles Rams, and the team has finally said their classy goodbyes at the start of the new league year. Wednesday night, the Lions revealed a video for Stafford which showed off his personal thanks to the fans.
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Here’s a look at the tearjerker:
It is an incredible job by the Lions and Stafford to put that together upon his exit from the team, and it will be a video that obviously touches Lions fans in a special way given what they watched with Stafford through the years.
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Matthew Stafford ‘Torn’ Over Lions Exit
As the video shows, this move will be tough for the quarterback. It’s clear that Stafford has some deep feelings about his exit from the Motor City. As he explained in another piece with Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, Stafford is excited for his new start, but remains partially torn over his exit because of the connection he still has with Detroit.
Stafford told Albom:
“Obviously, we were excited for a new start, excited for the whole process of being on the trading block to be over. Now we had a place. We knew where we were going. I was excited about their roster and their coaching staff and what they can bring to the table and their recent success.
“But at the same time, it was a close of the door in Detroit. At that moment it was real.”
Stafford did not take that lightly. His biggest worry, he says, was that the Lions or anyone else would think that he was turning his back on them.
“You know, I want nothing more than to be able to come back to this place 10 years from now and everybody welcome me with open arms. And that was one of the biggest things that was weighing on me as I went in there to talk to them. I was like, ‘I don’t want anybody to ever feel like I’m giving up on this town, or this city, or this place, I gave it everything I possibly had here.”
Stafford being afraid of not finishing the job or feeling as if he had begged out is not unwarranted, but it’s more than possible that he underestimated the amount of fan support he will have in the end, even as heads out of town. Clearly, it’s not a situation where Stafford is thrilled to be walking away, even as he realized it was time to do so.
Lions Players Will Root for Stafford With Rams
Fans will be emotional about this video, and some teammates are likely to remain that way about his departure as well. Obviously, Stafford was a well-respected player for the Lions, something which was emphasized plenty by his former teammates. T.J. Hockenson was the latest to provide and interesting take on what the quarterback meant to his old team, and admitted everyone will be pulling for him to win it all once he gets there.
Hockenson was interviewed on Bussin’ With the Boys where he was asked about a variety of different topics, but his most interesting answers revolved around Stafford.
Obviously, Stafford meant a lot to the Lions, but is it bad form for a player on the team to all but admit everyone wants to see him win? When Stafford leaves the team, he will be the opposition and the Lions will be one of the other teams trying to stop the Rams from winning when all is said and done.
Nevertheless, these quotes show just how embraced Stafford was within the Lions locker room, and this video shows fans just how much he loves the city in which he used to play.
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