Given everything that’s going on in the world today, and even just the week that Matthew Stafford just had, you wouldn’t criticize the Detroit Lions quarterback for being a little tired, stressed or even downright mad following Sunday’s game.
Close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 forced Stafford to quarantine all week—away from his coaches, friends, and, most importantly, his family. And when his family went through a crisis—his two-year-old daughter fell from a high chair and suffered a serious concussion—he couldn’t be there to help.
But as he stood in front of the media (virtually) following a two-interception performance that led to his team’s embarrassing loss—and just minutes after he had to go through concussion tests of his own—Stafford managed to put it all into perspective and even express his gratitude for his situation.
“This year has been difficult for everybody. Everybody in the league, everybody around the world,” Stafford said. “This is a really unique situation and a really tough one. I’m one of the people that is lucky enough to get to do their job. As tough as it is, there’s a lot of people that don’t have a job anymore because of this stuff. So I feel blessed to be able to do what I do.”
That isn’t to say this week has been easy on him; it hasn’t. When his daughter had the accident, he made the difficult decision to break quarantine and help his family. However, his wife found help in time so that Stafford turned around and went back to his hotel before officially breaking protocol.
Understandably, the situation left his wife Kelly, who was alone with the kids all week, a little stressed.
“So here I was with zero family around, panicking about hunter and realizing NO neighbors would come over because everyone thought we had covid,” Kelly wrote in an Instagram post over the weekend.
And while you could sense during the press conference Matthew was visibly frustrated with the process, too, he understood why it was in place.
“I understand it,” Stafford said. “It’s not something that I take lightly. I understand that it’s a pandemic, and people’s health and safety are at risk. I would feel terrible if I brought that in and infected a bunch of teammates or coaches or whatever it is. So I understand it.
“Doesn’t make it easy, but everyone in the league is doing it. I just hate being away from my family. Finish a practice, finish a game, go hug my daughters, hug my wife. That’s what sometimes makes it worth for me, and not being able to see them and hang with them has been really tough.”
Worst of all, even after traveling home from Minnesota following the stressful week, he still had to be quarantined from his family for at least another night.
But the anxiety of the week, of the pandemic, and even of the Lions’ 3-5 season that looks more and more likely to end with a regime change won’t deter Stafford from seeing the big picture. It all sucks, but he knows he’s still blessed beyond his imagination.
“It weighs on me. I’ve got a lot more greys in my beard now than I used to. But that might just be age, too,” Stafford joked with a smile. But then his tone got a lot more serious.
“Doesn’t make it easy, and it’s not easy for any of us on this Zoom or anywhere. So I understand that. But I’ve got great support. Great support from my wife and family and kids and everybody. So it makes it easy. Obviously not seeing them is tough, but there’s a lot of people not seeing their kids for a lot of different reasons. So I’ve got to continue to push forward and try to be better.”
You can watch his full press conference below: