Stafford: "I Feel Really Good," Will Be Ready For Offseason Program

His back injury seems to be healing well.

Will Burchfield
December 30, 2019 - 5:17 pm
Matthew Stafford

© Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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To those concerned about Matthew Stafford after he suffered a back injury for the second season in a row, Stafford has a message. 

“I’m not concerned about it," Stafford said as the Lions cleaned out their lockers Monday. “That should make people feel good. I’m the guy who’s living with the back, so I feel pretty good about it.”

It was a tough year for Stafford, to say nothing of what he and his family dealt with off the field. He began the season by playing some of the best football of his career, then sustained micro-fractures in his back in Week 9. He said he would be fine. He was ruled out, surprisingly, in Week 10. He said he hoped to return. He never did.

Instead, Stafford watched the final eight games of the season from the sidelines, all of them losses. The Lions finished 3-12-1, in a year they were supposed to contend in the NFC North, and now Stafford is hearing questions about his long-term health after going more than eight years without missing a start. 

They are questions he answers without batting an eye, like whether or not he'll be ready for the start of Detroit's offseason program in April. 

"Oh yeah, I'll be good to go," Stafford said. "I feel really good, which is good. I've had quite a bit of rest, obviously. I think I'll be feeling really, really good pretty darn soon, to tell you the truth."

Stafford has said he wants to play for a long time, as long as his body holds up. He'll be 32 in February, with a contract that runs through 2022. He remains the most important player to the franchise that drafted him first overall in 2009. 

If he's indeed healthy for the start of the next season, that should make the Lions feel good. Stafford looked terrific in his first year in Darrell Bevell's offense. Prior to his injury, he had a career-best passer rating of 106.0 and ranked among the top five quarterbacks across the board. 

It's exciting, Stafford said, knowing the Lions can build on that in 2020. 

"I think for everybody in that room, not just me at quarterback, just having familiarity going into an offseason and being able to build on what we did this year," he said. "Obviously we have to spend a bunch of time and a bunch of hours, hard work, to make sure that we play at a high level again. And that starts in the offseason.

"I know guys will show back up here ready to go, and I know I will, too."