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QB MATTHEW STAFFORD ON NEW CONTRACT

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DETROIT LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD ON NEW CONTRACT

The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed QB Matthew Stafford to a five-year contract extension through the 2022 season.

Matthew Stafford on how important it was to get a contract extension done before the season started: “It was important. It wasn’t something that all along I knew was going to be the case, but as it got into training camp a little bit I realized that I think we have an extremely talented team, and for us to be worrying about, or anybody, even myself, about my contract situation or what it was going to be was going to be a disservice to the organization, to our team, to the players in the locker room. So, I wanted to get this thing done and kind of realized that during training camp. And like Bob (Quinn) said, without Mrs. (Martha) Ford, Bob’s hard work, Matt Harriss, Rod Wood, Coach (Caldwell), everybody involved – it took everybody to get it done in the time frame it did, including Tom Condon and my guys at CAA. So, I just couldn’t have done it obviously without those guys and appreciate them. I’m just glad that we’re getting this thing wrapped up and we can move on to the season.”

Matthew Stafford on what it’s like being the highest paid player in the NFL: “It’s not much different than I feel yesterday. I work extremely hard no matter what my salary is for the year or anything like that. It’s just part of what comes with the position of playing quarterback in this league and playing it at a high level and that’s what I strive to do. And I don’t do that for anything other than the guys in the locker room, the coaching staff that puts in all the hard work to get us ready to play and my teammates. Obviously, couldn’t have gotten to this point without a lot of help from all those guys.”

Matthew Stafford on what it was about the organization that made him want to make the commitment: “I’ve loved playing here. I’m going to continue to love playing here. Obviously, a great ownership group. I love playing for the Fords. Mrs. Ford reached out to me today. I had a great conversation with her. Her family is always around and great. So, that makes it a lot of fun for me and then the guys in the locker room. Teammates, coaches, front office guys were all involved, were all in this and I consider myself lucky to be a part of it. And just happy that I can continue here for another six (years) at least.”

Matthew Stafford on if he considers the contract extension to give him more time to accomplish what he wants to do at this franchise: “Yeah, I mean I want to – when I was drafted here, we were obviously coming off an 0-16 season and in a lot of ways needed some new breath and some direction. And I was lucky and happy and honored to be a part of getting it from where it was then to where it is now. And hopefully that exponential of a jump can happen again, and we can go from where we are now to where we really want to be and that’s hoisting a Lombardi Trophy.”

Matthew Stafford on if he considered Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins being franchise tagged as alternative: “At certain points in time, everything’s in play. When you meet with my guys, Tom and those guys at CAA, but in the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to be here. And from the first day I met with our representatives, after I talked with Bob (Quinn) and all those guys in February, that was the first question he asked me and I said, ‘Absolutely, I want to be in Detroit.’ And you never know if that’s always going to work out or not, but that was my wish and intention all the way back then.”

Matthew Stafford on what he thinks the team can be this season: “I think it’s hard to sit there and give you exactly what the team’s going to be. Every season it unfolds differently and health is a factor and timing and all those kinds of things. But we’re an extremely talented team. We’ve got great depth. We’ve built that through the draft and free agency. Brought in some front line starters, some guys that are going to fill out our roster and really help us win games, so I’m excited. We’re a talented team. I expect great things from this team. That’s part of my job as a leader and as the quarterback of this team is to push us to get everything we can out of it. And there’s no question, that’s what I’m going to be doing.”

Matthew Stafford on what he did in the moment when the contract deal was done: “I was sitting across from Kelly (Stafford) at the dinner table and just smiled and said, ‘We’re going to be here for six more.’ And we were excited. It was no big story, nothing too crazy. Shot a text out to my family just so they weren’t going to be caught off guard, but no, it was just an awesome moment. Had a feeling a little bit earlier in the day yesterday, maybe it was going to get done, and we talked about it and we were both extremely happy.”

Matthew Stafford on WR Golden Tate Facetiming him: “Yeah, that was crazy. Kelly and I were laying down, watching TV and I got a FaceTime from Golden Tate last night. I don’t even know what time it was. It wasn’t too late. But he was doing the same thing, just calling me to congratulate me and it means a lot. As a quarterback of the team, it’s awesome to know that guys on your team are there for you, pulling for you. It’s my job to them is I got to be there for them at any moment and any time, and to have support from guys like that – guys that see the work that I put in, and we all put in behind the scenes, to have that appreciation is pretty awesome.”

Matthew Stafford on if there will be any added pressure now that he is the highest paid player in the NFL: “No, I think I’ve been around this league long enough to know what’s important and what’s not as far as how people interact with other people. And to me, my number one focus and concern is doing everything I can to help this team win. I can’t control what people are going to say and outside thoughts and ideas and all that kind of stuff. So, I just focus on what I can focus on. Great thing about our team is that’s exactly how our head coach is. He preaches it from day one. We control the things that we can control and we move forward from there. And that’s something that’s trickled down, not only to me, but through our entire team and I know that wherever we play, whoever it’s in front of, whatever they have to say, we’re focused on one thing and that’s trying to win ball games.”

Matthew Stafford on considering taking less money to allow the organization to have more resources to get talent around him: “Yeah, I mean it’s a collaborative effort. I mean it takes a lot of people to get a deal like this done. It’s not me telling exactly what I want and then Lions saying exactly – you know what I mean? It’s compromise. It takes both parties and I’m just excited I’m going to be here. I’m excited that I get to play for the Lions for another six years and hopefully more than that. And excited to get to play for the Ford family and the fans here in Detroit and with the teammates in the locker room.”

Matthew Stafford on if he has thought about plans after football is finished: “No, I haven’t. I feel like I have a ton of football left. Somebody six months ago or so called me old in one of these press conferences, but I feel pretty good physically and I feel like I’m fresh mentally. And I want to play for as long as I possibly can, so I haven’t thought about that.”

Matthew Stafford on if he places higher expectations on his level of play after this deal: “I feel like I have about as high as level expectations that you can have. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter what my salary is for that year. It’s been all sorts of different numbers throughout the years, that doesn’t motivate me. That’s not the main motivator. The main motivator for me is getting respect from the guys in the locker room, people around the League, coaches, players, and winning football games. You do that with hard work, dedication, and a bunch of toughness.”

Matthew Stafford on if it is important to him to raise the bar for other players in the League to make more money: “Yeah, no, that didn’t come into play for me. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen for those guys. I’m worried about what’s best for myself and our team and that went into it way more than anything League wide or at the quarterback position.”

Matthew Stafford on if there was ever a point where he thought the extension would not get done: “I don’t know. I don’t think so. Like Bob said, I mean this is – I haven’t been a part of one, you know, of this magnitude. Obviously, had a little bit of a brief structure a couple years back or so. But it was as cordial as I feel like it could be. It was great. I talked to Bob a couple days ago and just said, ‘Whatever happens happens,’ but I just wanted to let him know that I appreciated the way that everybody treated me and we treated each other during this whole thing. It was awesome coming to work. Whereas, I know in other instances I bet it’s tough for guys that are in the same situation that I was in to come to work. And they allowed me just to be the quarterback and play football and get this team as ready to play as I possibly can and that was awesome for me. Another added bonus of being a Lion and being a part of this organization is how well they treated me through that whole process.”

Matthew Stafford on what he’s learned to really like about living and playing in Detroit: “I’ve made Detroit my home and obviously I have a family now. You can hear them in the background cheering for me, I guess. But no, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve learned to embrace everything good, bad about the city. I think that’s what’s great about the people of Detroit. It’s not always perfect, but the fabric of this city is amazing and it’s a really tight knit community, so I’ve enjoyed my time. I know I’m going to enjoy the next six years and hopefully more after that, being a part of not only this organization, but this city and this state.”

Matthew Stafford on how he will treat himself with a deal like this: “A bunch of diapers. I don’t know, man. I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m just – I’m really honestly just extremely excited, grateful, the whole gamut. But just ready to get on to playing some football and looking forward to this season.”

Matthew Stafford on his reaction to national attention and him being in the limelight: “The great thing about the news cycles these days is they’re about 24 hours. So, you guys will have something else to write and talk about in a day or so and I’ll be happy when that’s the case. So, thank you guys. Appreciate it.”

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