Matthew Stafford Details Multiple Injuries He Played with in Final Lions Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2021

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)
Lon Horwedel/Associated Press

Soon-to-be Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford says he suffered several injuries during his final year with the Detroit Lions.

Stafford told Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press in an interview released Thursday he played through thumb, elbow, rib and ankle injuries to appear in all 16 games for the Lions

"I mean, this past year was bad. I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That's why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place.

"I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain."

Stafford threw for over 4,000 yards with 26 touchdowns despite the injuries.

The Lions agreed to trade him to the Rams in exchange for fellow quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick in January. The deal will become official when the NFL's new league year begins in March.

From 2011 through 2018, Stafford didn't miss a game. His impressive run of durability ended in November 2019 when he suffered fractured bones in his back.

The 2014 Pro Bowler initially didn't rule himself out for the remainder of that season, but the Lions, who finished 3-12-1, had little reason to reinsert him into the lineup. David Blough and Jeff Driskel finished out the term under center.

Stafford couldn't help Detroit avoid a third straight losing season in 2020, which led to an overhaul.

The Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn in November, triggering a transitional phase—if not a total rebuild—in the coming months following the blockbuster trade.