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Matthew Stafford taking wait-and-see approach on future with Lions

By Justin Rogers, The Detroit News on

Published in Football

For his entire career, through all the franchise's struggles, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has never wavered — Detroit is where he wants to be.

But with a pending rebuild looming following the firing of general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia, Stafford is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding his future with the franchise for the first time.

"I'm not going to limit myself to anything," Stafford said. " ... I'll answer that probably better for you after the season. There's too much work for me to be done at the moment and if I'm worried about all that other stuff, I'm not worried about trying to beat the Bears. And that's unfair to my teammates, my coaches, ownership, our fans, everybody. So I'm going to put my best foot forward and try to beat the Bears this weekend. We'll figure out that other stuff down the road."

Contrast that to four days earlier, minutes, after the Lions lost to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving and Stafford, was asked whether he's sick of the losses.

"I love the guys in the locker room," he said. "I love this organization. I love playing for it, so that's not my style. I'm going to keep fighting, keep doing everything I can do to try and help us win."

For 12 years, Stafford has given his all to the city of Detroit, both on the field and in the community. But no matter who the Lions have drafted, signed or traded for to build around the former No. 1 pick, the team success has been elusive. Stafford has never won a division title or a playoff game in his three trips.

On Saturday, after the team announced the firings of Quinn and Patricia, even owner Sheila Ford Hamp declined to endorse Stafford's future with the team beyond this season.

 

Sure, she praised his talent and toughness. How could she not? But there would be no endorsement beyond that.

"Well since I'm not the coach," Hamp said. "I'm probably not the right person to ask that question to. So, we'll see what the new coach has to say."

Of course, none of this means Stafford is gone in 2021, but for the first time in a while, it's also not a certainty he'll be here. Former teammate and good friend Dan Orlovsky even suggested it was time the two sides part.

"Real next impactful move is full start over and move on from Stafford," Orlovsky tweeted on Saturday. "It's time from both the organization standpoint and the player's position as well. It didn't work out."

As for now, as he said, Stafford is focused on finishing the season strong and that starts with Sunday's trip to Chicago.

"Each one of these times it happens, you hate to see it happen, but it's a unique challenge," he said. "We, as players, have to adapt and obviously get ready to go to work. We've got five football games left. Obviously, a good team in Chicago coming up, so we've got a lot of work to do."

(c) 2020 The Detroit News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC