Stafford stumps to stay with Lions for career

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on Thursday said he’d like to remain with the same team — the one that drafted him — his entire career.

The 30-year-old Stafford, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the Lions in 2009, has had his name thrown around — including by ESPN — as a possible candidate to be traded this offseason.

While Stafford said he had not heard or read about any trade rumors, he made it clear he would like to stay with the Lions.

“I think there’s something special about a guy getting a chance to play his entire career in one place,” Stafford said ahead of Sunday’s season finale at Green Bay. “Not many guys get to do that these days. I would love to be one of those guys.”

Stafford said he knows he doesn’t have control of that situation, but if it were up to him, he would want to stay.

The Lions signed Stafford to a five-year, $135 million contract extension with $92 million guaranteed prior to the 2017 season, with the first year of the extension coming in 2018. His base salary is fully guaranteed for the 2019 season, with a salary-cap hit of $29.5 million.

The Lions, though, would incur a cap hit of $30 million if they traded him — and that would still leave the franchise without a quarterback. So it would leave Detroit with a massive amount of dead money that would likely make a trade unpalatable for the organization.

This season, Stafford has completed 347 of 523 passes for 3,511 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions — his lowest yards and touchdowns totals since his injury-shortened 2010 season. He hasn’t missed a game since that season — a streak of 127 consecutive games.

Stafford said he hasn’t been asked for input about the future of the organization, from whether the Lions (5-10) should keep embattled offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to other aspects of the team as it moves forward.

It is a future, though, that he says he wants to be part of.

When asked if he would like more input on what happens with the organization, he said he’s a player “just like everybody else in this locker room.”

“Obviously I’ve been with this team for a long time, seen a lot of people come in and out,” Stafford said. “Probably have some unique perspective on some things but at the same time, you know, those guys’ jobs are solely to do those kind of things and my job is to score touchdowns and get our offense in the end zone.

“So that’s what I’ll focus on.”

Stafford said he doesn’t think about possible change in the offseason, either with him or anything with the franchise.

“I’ve learned in this business to not expect anything, or expect at all,” Stafford said. “It’s the same kind of thing. I’ve been a part of some teams that have been very successful and had a lot of turnover and some teams that have been less successful and not much turnover, so you never know.

“Not focused on it at the moment. Focused on playing the Packers. Figure all that stuff out when we get there.”

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