Rams' Matthew Stafford Says He's Not Retiring from NFL amid Recovery from Neck Injury

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 20, 2022

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams drops back to pass during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 6, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said on his wife Kelly Stafford's podcast The Morning After that he is not retiring from the NFL.

HoldenCantor @HoldenCantor

Here it is from Matthew himself on retirement: <a href="https://t.co/S3hUsHlArR">pic.twitter.com/S3hUsHlArR</a>

The Rams placed Stafford on injured reserve Dec. 3 because of a neck injury, and his status going forward was uncertain.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Nov. 27 that the Rams didn't know if Stafford would play again in 2022, noting he'd been in concussion protocol twice, had a strained neck and also experienced numbness in his legs.

The injuries have contributed to a lost year for Stafford, who has just 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions in nine starts. His 87.4 passer rating is his lowest since 2014, while his 231.9 passing yards per game only beats his first two years in the NFL.

The numbers are a dramatic change from 2021 when he totaled 4,886 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title in his first season in L.A.

Stafford underwent a procedure on his right elbow in the offseason and was limited in training camp as he recovered. Though he was back on the field in Week 1, he seemingly never returned to 100 percent.

The Rams have struggled with and without their starting quarterback, and they fell to 4-10 and were eliminated from playoff contention with Monday's loss to the Green Bay Packers. That makes it unnecessary for Stafford to return this season, but he wants to get back on the field in 2023.

The 34-year-old signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension in March, featuring $130 million in guaranteed money. If Los Angeles wanted to trade or release Stafford, it would cost the team at least $48 million in dead cap, per Spotrac.

Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins give the team options to finish out the year, although all three are set to enter free agency this offseason.