Lions' Matthew Stafford Opens Up About False Positive Test, NFL Protocol Changes

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2020

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is seen during warm ups against the Green Bay Packers prior to an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he hopes lessons learned from his false positive COVID-19 test will help prevent similar situations in the future. 

Michael Rothstein of ESPN noted Stafford was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Aug. 1 but was eventually removed three days later following a sequence that saw him test negative twice, test positive once and then negative at least three more times.

Rothstein shared Stafford's comments:

"I know everybody is doing the best that they possibly can. I'm glad it happened to me at this point, and the league is trying to change and make sure it doesn't happen again. But I'm sure there's going to be another problem down the road at some point that we're going to have to figure out when we get there. That's the way it's been for the last six months; we've all been living it. Whether we're a league trying to test thousands of players or just trying to go out and get our groceries.

"So we understand things are going to change and we're going to have to adapt, but I'm glad it got settled. Glad it's over with, and I'm just happy to be in the building hanging with the guys, getting a little bit of normalcy back when it comes to football."

Rothstein explained Stafford's false positive spurred the league to change its protocols. Asymptomatic people who test positive can now take two more tests in 24 hours and return if they are both negative.

Stafford also said he did not consider opting out of the season despite the experience with the false positive, having a newborn daughter and having a wife who had a brain tumor removed in April 2019.

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"I never gave it serious thought," Stafford said. "I want to play football. I want to be out here. I have a supportive wife and family that know I love doing what I do and know it's important to me, so they were right on board with me."

On the field, the University of Georgia product played just eight games last year because of a back injury.

He is looking to return to the form he displayed in seven straight seasons from 2011 through 2017 when he threw for more than 4,000 yards. 

Still, the 2014 Pro Bowler has never won a playoff game in his career and will surely be striving for more team success in 2020.