Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford refused to ride a cart after his ankle injury. Here’s why.

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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Matthew Stafford could have gotten on a cart and been whisked off the field after he suffered a possible season-ending ankle injury in Saturday’s 47-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But he refused.

“I don’t want to get on a cart unless I have to, to be honest with you,” the Detroit Lions quarterback said Monday. “They told me they were going to bring the cart over and I told them no. I told them I’d get to the locker room some other way.”

So Stafford he hopped off on one foot and into the home locker room at Ford Field.

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“I felt like I didn’t need it,” he said. “Felt like I could get there a different way. So I felt like I could get there on my own, which I made it. So I guess I made the right decision.”

Stafford took the shortcut to the locker room by slipping behind the team bench and under the stands near midfield. After a medical evaluation, the team decided he was done playing for the day and he returned to watch the rest of the game from the sideline.

When it was over, the 32-year-old, 12th-year veteran hobbled out to the middle of the field and exchanged pleasantries with his counterpart, 43-year-old, 20th-year veteran Tom Brady, who didn’t end up having to play much longer than Stafford during Saturday’s rout.

Not too long ago, Stafford spoke freely about playing into the 40s. But on Monday, with the rest of his season — if not his future with the Lions — in doubt because of the team’s struggles and his own mounting injuries, Stafford wouldn’t go so far as to say he was drawing inspiration from Brady to play into this 40s himself.

“What he’s been able to do is remarkable,” Stafford said, “not only as a player but just how healthy he’s been and how good of a job he’s done coming out of each year playing at a high level. Got a ton of respect for him.

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“It was a pretty typical postgame talk. I was just wishing him luck the rest of the year, and he was asking me how my ankle was doing and all that. So it was pretty typical. But I have obviously a lot of respect for him and what he was able to do. He came out and played at a really high level obviously on Saturday and just wish him luck the rest of the way.”

Some coaches still out

The Lions were without five coaches Saturday because of COVID-19 protocols. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell said Monday some coaches will remain in quarantine and will not be able to be at the team’s Allen Park facility Tuesday.

“Today is our restricted-access day,” Bevell said during a conference call. “So not all the coaches are in here today, some have been in and out. But there’s a few guys here just today.

“I think tomorrow, when everyone is allowed back in the building, we will not have everyone, but we’ll have the majority of the guys, yes.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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