Matthew Stafford will move on from the Detroit Lions in 2021, after spending the first 12 years of his career with the organization that drafted him. The 33-year-old will pack his bags and suit up for the Los Angeles Rams next season.
Although he might be headed for greener pastures, Stafford will always have fond memories in Detroit. One of the people that the quarterback still seems to hold in high regard is his former head coach Jim Caldwell.
Stafford played for Caldwell from 2014 to 2017. During that stretch, he made his first and only Pro Bowl and had his winningest stretch with the Lions. Detroit went 36-28 over those four seasons, but parted ways with Caldwell at the end of 2017.
As Stafford reflected back on his time with the Lions, he spoke highly of his former head coach, recalling the first time that the two ever met.
“Yeah, I loved playing for him,” Stafford said via the Detroit Free Press. “I know that the Fords were trying to do the right thing. They were trying to make the next step. They were shooting their shots to try and make us what they thought we should and could be.”
“I still remember when he was coming in for his visit. I got a chance to sit down and talk with him. And he blew me away. I wasn’t expecting that. Just his presence. Unique. He’s a great person, and that came through when he talked and in how he treated people.”
Despite the Lions’ regular season success under Caldwell, the team never walked away with a playoff win. Stafford remains winless in the playoffs, which contributed to his decision to ask out of Detroit.
The 33-year-old quarterback apparently had a provision that the Lions trade him to a title competitor for 2021. The organization honored that request and gave Stafford a chance to compete immediately in Los Angeles.
“What’s accurate is — and this is an incredible thing by (the Lions) — I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship,” Stafford said. “And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them.”
The Rams will give Stafford an opportunity to play in the postseason right away in 2021. If the 33-year-old can provide steady play under center, Los Angeles may just make his wish come true and play in the Super Bowl next season.