| Detroit Free Press
What former Detroit Lions LB Chris Spielman’s role will be as adviser
Former Detroit Lions Pro Bowler Chris Spielman is introduced Dec. 15, 2020, by team president Rod Wood as a special adviser.
Chris Spielman has been a staunch supporter of Matthew Stafford through the years, but the newly-appointed Detroit Lions front executive did not want to wade too far into the debate about Stafford’s future Tuesday.
Spielman, who will help pick the next Lions general manager and head coach, who will ultimately decide Stafford’s future, called the 32-year-old quarterback “a talented guy” and “tough ass” without saying whether the Lions should bring him back in 2021.
“I’ve always respected Matthew and how he plays the game,” Spielman said. “I’ll give you an interesting observation that I had on Sunday. He gets hurt, he goes into the locker room, he’s coming out, starting to throw the ball, and obviously has cartilage pain in his rib, from what I read on your guys’ reports today, damaged cartilage. And it takes a leader to realize that, ‘Yes, I can tough it out and go play, but does that give us the best chance to win?'”
Stafford suffered a rib injury on a 6-yard scramble with about 7 minutes to play in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.
He stayed in for one play after the injury, a handoff to Kerryon Johnson that went for a touchdown, then spent several minutes testing his injury on the sideline before giving way to Chase Daniel for the Lions’ final drive.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Lions are “not overly optimistic” that Stafford will play Sunday at Tennessee. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell said Monday that the quarterback will be re-evaluated at the end of the week.
Spielman, a former Lions linebacker who has spent the past seven seasons as an analyst on the team’s’ preseason broadcasts, and the past five as an analyst at Fox, praised Stafford’s willingness to put team above self.
“Anybody that knows Matthew Stafford knows that, ‘I can tough it out, but I wouldn’t be more effective than Chase is at this time. Chase gives our team a chance to win,'” Spielman said. “So that’s something that I refer to as an unselfish and sacrificial giving. For Matthew, you know it’s hard for him to pull himself out or not go back in. So that was a difficult decision.”
So, too, is the Lions’ call on what to do with Stafford this offseason.
Stafford remains one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but he’s dealt with a slew of injuries in recent seasons and has just two years left on his contract.
The Lions, who have made just three playoff appearances in Stafford’s 12 seasons as quarterback, could have a top-10 pick to address the position in a draft that early signs point to be strong at quarterback.
“When I looked at Matthew all these years, and talked to him in production meetings, the one thing that stands out is he’s a team guy,” Spielman said.
Why Detroit Lions adviser Chris Spielman respects Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions leadership knows it has a big decision coming on Matthew Stafford. New adviser Chris Spielman gave his thoughts Dec. 15, 2020 on the QB.