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Rams' Matthew Stafford: Leaving Lions 'The Most Difficult Thing I've Ever Done'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2021

AP Photo/Al Goldis

Matthew Stafford called his decision to request a trade from the Detroit Lions "the most difficult thing I’ve ever done" in an interview with Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

"I have so much respect for that organization, the Ford family, the guys who had played in that uniform before me," Stafford said. "There was a lot that went into that that I had to think about.

"I told them, 'I’m not going to say a word to anybody that’s going to say a word. Not until you guys are ready.' It was vice versa. In this day of social media and everybody trying to get the scoop, that’s not something that happens very often. I’m obviously excited about the new opportunity and happy it shook out the way it did. I feel like both teams got a fair shake out of this thing, and we can move on with everybody feeling good about it."

Stafford sought a trade to a contending team this offseason after spending his first 13 seasons in Detroit, setting nearly every Lions passing record. The Lions, in the midst of a rebuild, sent Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange or two first-round picks (2022, 2023), a 2021 third-round pick and Jared Goff.

The deal united Stafford with Rams coach Sean McVay, a pre-existing connection foraged by Stafford's wife, Kelly. McVay and Kelly Stafford's brother, Buffalo Bills receivers coach Chad Hall, are friends.

Matthew Stafford said Kelly played a large part in helping him make the decision to leave Detroit.

"It started casually probably with just my wife and I," he said. "She saw everything I put into this game and that team and that city, everything I had given. She had a front-row seat for that. She would talk to me about it, we would talk to each other."

The Rams are hoping McVay can make Stafford the type of consistent star-level performer he never was with Detroit. For as much handwringing as there was the last two years about Goff's performance in Los Angles, he actually has two Pro Bowl selections to Stafford's one.

The Lions also made the playoffs only three times in Stafford's tenure and went 0-3. Goff spearheaded a Super Bowl appearance just three years ago. 

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