Detroit Lions’ Michael Brockers apologized to Jared Goff for ‘level up’ comment

Detroit Free Press

Michael Brockers was wearing a Los Angeles Rams facemask when he told TMZ in an airport interview earlier this month Matthew Stafford was “a level up” from Jared Goff as a quarterback.

Brockers, who since has been traded from the Rams to the Detroit Lions — reuniting with his former teammate, Goff, in Detroit — said his old team was on his heart when he made those comments, too.

“That was definitely something, TMZ, inside the airport, it was kind of a fan booster, just I didn’t know I was going to be dealing with (this trade),” Brockers said in his introductory video conference Monday. “I was really just trying to boost up the move that I felt like the team was doing and trying to make sure, trying to boost up the fan base. I don’t think it was anything against Jared.”

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The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams for Goff and three draft picks in January, and acquired Brockers for a 2023 seventh-round pick in a trade with the Rams last week.

Brockers told TMZ that Stafford made the Rams, coming off a second-round playoff exit, a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

“With having a quarterback like that and just seeing what we did last year and just seeing what he can bring to this team, there’s no wonder why we can’t,” he said.

Asked if Stafford was “a level up” from Goff as a quarterback, Brockers said, “In my heart, deeply, just understanding what he brings, it’s a level up. It’s a level up.”

He said Monday he texted Goff to apologize not long after his comments went public, and apologized to him a second time when the two saw each other in person last week at the Lions’ Allen Park practice facility.

Goff was in town looking for a new house, meeting with coaches and for his introductory news conference, while Brockers was there for a physical and to sign the contract extension he agreed to as part of the trade.

“After I seen it in the media and I seen how it was just blowing up, I was like, ‘Oh my God. Like, that’s not what I meant at all,’ ” Brockers said. “So definitely like right after I seen it was getting out of hand I had to text him like, I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t see it or I didn’t care about his feelings, cause I know he reads that. Everybody, we don’t say anything about it, but we definitely read it and I just wanted to come to him as a man and just let him know that I have so much respect for him, and just understanding that wasn’t any shot against him, it was just trying to pump up the Rams base as I was on the Rams team.”

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Goff, in an interview Monday on WXYT-FM (97.1), said Brockers is “one of my good friends” and insisted his comments are a non-issue.

“He’s my guy,” Goff said. “I love Brock and he reached out to me very quickly after that and no ill will, we’re all good and moving forward.”

The Lions traded for Brockers in hopes of moving their rebuild forward quickly, both in the locker room and on the defensive side of the ball.

Brockers had 51 tackles and five sacks in 15 games last season, and should be a key contributor on the Lions’ defensive line in 2021 playing alongside Trey Flowers, Romeo Okwara and John Penisini.

Initially, he said he was stunned by the Rams’ decision to trade him one season after he signed a three-year deal to stay in Los Angeles in free agency.

“It was a shock, but at the same time it’s a business,” he said. “I understand it’s a business. I’ve been in this game 10 years, so I kind of knew that at some point that you can’t play for a team forever. Everybody wants to, but at the same time, after seeing Tom Brady leave the Patriots, I think everybody has a view of like, ‘OK, I might need a fresh start.’ It’s just a new experience for me.”

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But after his wife told him, “Wherever you’re wanted and wherever you can succeed just go,” he said he felt at ease about a move he now is excited about.

“This group is really, coaching staff has really just fired me up,” Brockers said. “Got me to a level where I feel like I can change things there. I mean, truly change things there. I’ve been there, I’ve been to the highest game. I haven’t won it, but I’ve been through big playoff games and stuff like that, so I understand that this winning thing is not like a magic formula that everybody makes it out to be. It’s just about accountability, trusting in one another, having great communication between the coaches and the players and just going out there, trying to win games. At the end of the day, that’s the only goal every team is going out there to do is to win games.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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