‘Can’t shine the toughness’ out of Lions’ Stafford

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Matthew Stafford signals a first down in the fourth quarter against the Rams.

Allen Park – Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took a beating last season. He was sacked 44 times and dealt with arm, rib and quad injuries, but was still able to play in all 16 games and lead the Lions to a 6-2 finish.

For his efforts, Stafford will receive the team’s Ed Block Courage Award, which goes to the player who exemplifies sportsmanship and has overcome injury and / or adversity to excel on the field.

Stafford will be honored during the Lions annual Courage House Dinner on Nov. 15 at Ford Field.

“He just has that innate toughness,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “It’s one of those things where he can get dressed up and look pretty nice and pretty sharp, but you can’t shine the toughness out of him.

“He’s a tough guy and we’re glad he’s leading our group.”

Caldwell recalled Stafford’s rookie season in 2009 when he suffered a left shoulder injury against the Browns, but stayed in and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew on the game’s final play for a 38-37 win.

“We were all watching it on television where he had the shoulder injury and came back in the ball game,” Caldwell said. “I think that was kind of an indication of what to expect and that’s what you’ve gotten for the number of years that he’s been here.

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“He’s not one of those guys that’s going to talk about his injuries, use his injuries as an excuse; he battles through stuff. Everybody in this league is affected by obviously the collisions and things of that nature, but he’s one of those guys that you can expect him to be out there every single day.”

Stafford completed a career-high 67.2 percent of his passes for 4,262 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2015, and has started all 16 regular-season games since 2011.

Former Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown will receive the 2016 Ricky Sandoval Award for his work in the community.


Twitter @jamesbhawkins