Matthew Stafford is ready for the next chapter in his NFL career. In late January, it was reported that the Detroit Lions are trading Stafford to the Rams for two first-round picks, a third-round pick and Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Stafford talked about the trade to Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press and said he "never thought I would ever finish my career anywhere else." But when the Lions hired a new head coach and new general manager, Stafford thought being traded to a contender is the best way to get his chance at reaching the Super Bowl.
"I've always wanted to play in those big games; I feel like I will excel in those situations," he said. "I wanted to shoot my shot." Shortly before the trade was reported, Stafford talked to the Lions and asked to be sent to another team. This was something he thought about doing before the 2020 season kicked off.
"To be honest, Kelly and I probably started talking about it before last season," he said. "It was one of those things where, you know, we were hoping that golly, let's go, I hope this thing takes off and we play great. But if it doesn't, you just knew what was going to happen. They were going to tear it down and rebuild. And anytime you switch GMs and a head coach, you know that they're going to want to bring their own people in, and that's going to take time. And I, frankly, didn't feel like I was the appropriate person to oversee that time."
In his career, Stafford has thrown for 45,109 yards and 282 touchdowns. He reached the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2011. Stafford joins a Rams team that reached the divisional round of the playoffs last year. Before that, the Rams played in the Super Bowl in 2018.
Stafford's comments come after Jared Goff shared his thoughts on being traded to the Lions. He told Michael Silver on NFL.com: "I'm just excited to be somewhere that I know wants me and appreciates me. I'm moving forward and couldn't be more excited to build a winner there. I'm excited about Dan (Campbell) and the whole staff." Goff spent five seasons in L.A. and led the team to the Super Bowl. He also was named to the Pro Bowl twice.