Detroit Lions fans have been through a lot over the last decade. For the most part, they have stayed loyal through some of the worst football the National Football League has ever seen. In 2009, when the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall from the University of Georgia, many fans felt an unfamiliar feeling — hope.
That hope appears to be slowly diminishing in front of our eyes.
At the end of last season, I had no doubt in my mind this guy could play. Sure, he was injured six games last season, but I just chalked that up to a faulty offensive line and inexperience. This season however, something is becoming evident with every hit he takes. Stafford is injury-prone.
It was just last November, after taking a huge hit while releasing a Hail Mary against the Cleveland Browns, that he showed his toughness by staying in the game and eventually throwing the game— winning touchdown on the next play. That play showed fans that he was tough.
You can be as tough as you want, but if your body is not resilient enough to keep you in the game, you become about as useful as former Lions quarterback Joey Harrington, who had a subpar career in Detroit.When he’s healthy, Stafford has played great and the separation in his right shoulder, suffered Nov. 7 against the New York Jets, has to dim the light at the end of the tunnel for anxious Lions fans.
He has shown a lot of promise and impressed many with his big throwing arm, but now it’s looking more and more like the Lions have picked up another first-round bust.
The Lions hope to have him back this season after the rehabilitation for the grade-three separation in his shoulder. If rehabilitation goes as planned, he will be back to prove his durability since this season for the 2-7 Lions is all but over.
Whether he comes back this season or the next, if he gets injured by another typical NFL hit, I think the Lions should start to shop him around the league before he holds no value for them and they end up eating his huge salary.
The Lions have $40 million wrapped up in this guy, and I don’t know that they can afford to let him ride the bench for a few more seasons while mediocre backups drag them through more disappointing seasons.
I hate to be so skeptical about Stafford but for a guy who had no issues with being injured in college, it has been tough for him so far as a Lion. I want to see him do well, but the Lions organization has a history of destroying valuable quarterback prospects. They haven’t had a Pro Bowl quarterback since Greg Landry in 1971.
Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with Stafford at all. Maybe the 50-year curse of quarterback Bobby Layne didn’t expire in 2008 (Layne promised a 50-year championship drought when he was traded in 1958 to the Pittsburgh Steelers). If Stafford wants to be successful, he should get out of Detroit while he still can.