Stafford: Love for game undiminished despite Lions' losing

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — There are few players in the NFL more entertaining than Odell Beckham Jr., but the New York Giants receiver is struggling this season.

He’s struggling on the field, coming off the worst game of his career and still looking for his first touchdown, he’s struggling with the losing and he’s struggling with the media spotlight on his outbursts following another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Monday night.

It’s gotten to the point where Beckham told ESPN, he’s not enjoying playing football.

"Football is my sanctuary," Beckham said. "It's where I go to escape. It's where I'm most happy. I'm not having fun anymore."

That sentiment is not shared by Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Despite years of losing, and a steady dose of fan and media criticism, Stafford said his love for the game remains unaffected.

“No, I love playing,” Stafford said. “I love playing this game, I love preparing, I love practice, I love everything about it. Is it frustrating to lose? No question. Not play as good as you possibly can? Absolutely, I would say probably more angry at myself than I am ever unhappy to play. I know that the next week I’ve got a chance to go out there and play better, so that’s kind of how I feel about it."

Stafford also admitted he was disappointed with the way he reacted to throwing an interception at the end of the first half against the Chicago Bears last week, animatedly admonishing wide receiver Golden Tate for running the wrong route.

“I really was frustrated at the time, wish I wouldn’t have shown my emotions as much as I did,” Stafford said. “But, I’m a competitor, I want to win. Felt it was a big play in the game, I should have just went over there and made the tackle and moved on.

“I want to build guys up as much as I possibly can and help guys out,” Stafford said. “Frankly, communication, anything like that is always going to be on me. That’s my job to make sure no matter what, everybody is on the same page. It’s a difficult situation, one that hopefully doesn’t come up again and I’m just learning from it.”