Watch Stafford’s farewell ‘Thank you, not goodbye’

Pride of Detroit

Matthew Stafford narrated a farewell video to the Detroit Lions and their fans on his last day as a member of the franchise that drafted him in 2009.

The video goes through all of his major highlights, big accomplishments, and personal moments. Fittingly, the video is exactly nine minutes long.

Here’s a transcript of Stafford’s final message to Detroit as a member of the Lions.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how it all started. A long-haired Texas kid from the University of Georgia. This city welcomed me with open arms.

I’m talking about Detroit. It’s special here. Anybody who gets to experience Motown knows what I’m talking about. The history, the attitude, the people. Detroit stands alone. I’m proud to say this is where I started my NFL career. I guess you could say it’s where I grew up. In a time when this city had its back against the ropes, you knew it would swing back.

It’s where I started my family, where I became a husband and a father. This city will always be a part of me.

Now, as I navigate this next step in my football journey, it’s time to say, ‘Thank you, Detroit.’

To Lions fans hearing this, there is no me without you. You’ve been with me through all the touchdowns, the good times, all the big moments, and you kept cheering through the tougher times. There were some of my lowest points when it was difficult to get back up. Every injury I fought through, every fourth quarter comeback. I want you to know how much I care. How much I’ll always care.

There are so many of you that helped me along the way. All of my incredible teammates, all of my coaches, guys who showed me the ropes, always had my back, and helped mold me into the person I am today. I could go on and on about each of the football memories I made here, but the connections I share with the people of Detroit will forever mean just as much.

From the day I became a Lion, giving back was a priority for our family. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help people, to meet people. Kelly and I have loved every minute of getting to know this city. To provide a light during dark times to those who need it most.

What I didn’t anticipate was how much you all would give to me. I’m not someone who seeks the spotlight, you guys know that. I like to blend in. But the minute our family experienced the unthinkable, you made sure we weren’t alone. For that, I’ll be forever grateful. It’s why this has been an honor for me to be quarterback of this city.

I would often be asked through all my injuries, ‘Why don’t you just shut it down?’ I’ll never make excuses. That’s not who I am, and that’s not what this city is. Every game, every snap, I’m going to leave it all out on the field.

That’s why I’m saying thank you, not goodbye.

I’ll always have a connection to this place. A connection beyond all the records, the milestones, the stats. To me, creating a legacy is much bigger than that. It’s about making an impact on the lives of others, being your strongest self through times of adversity, and always letting people know that no matter what happens you stand for something real.

That’s me. That’s this city. Thank you for everything, Detroit.

Sincerely,

Number 9.

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