Matthew Stafford insists he paid little attention to offseason speculation he could be traded or that the Detroit Lions could draft Tua Tagovailoa.
The Lions had a prominent pick at number three in this year’s draft and ultimately selected a player they were connected with throughout the process, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, as Tagovailoa ended up with the Miami Dolphins.
Quarterback Stafford spoke to general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia about his name circulating in trade talk earlier in the year, but he did not spend any time dwelling on it from that point on.
The 32-year-old now hopes to lead the Lions for many years to come.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to them,” Stafford said about the rumours, according to ESPN.
“I pay less attention to them than my wife does, but it’s something that doesn’t bother me. I’m here. I want to be here. I love being a Detroit Lion. I love leading this team.
“So, all that kind of stuff is just out there to be out there. It’s a slow news month at that point, and I’m just happy to be where I am and ready to deal with this offseason the way it is and try to make the best of the season that I hope happens.”
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 7, 2020
Stafford recently put his Detroit home on the market, but his wife Kelly took to Instagram to insist it was for family reasons, rather than football.
His biggest concern at the moment is whether there will be an NFL season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I love playing football,” Stafford said. “I don’t know what I would do in a fall without it, as I think a lot of Americans probably would say the same.
“If we can find a way to make it safe for everybody, I would love to obviously be out there as soon as we can.”
Stafford was restricted to playing eight games last season due to a back injury.
The Lions lost all eight of their contests without him and will return to the field with Patricia in the hotseat after two consecutive losing campaigns.
“I’m moving around as good as this slow dude can move around,” Stafford said about his fitness.
“I feel great. I’m not worried about going out there and playing. If we could put the pads on today and go play, I would do it. I’m as good as I’ve been the last couple years physically and I feel fine.”