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Phoenix — When Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford decides he's done playing football, he should never need to work again. You'd expect as much from someone on pace to retire with the most career earnings in NFL history. 

But if Stafford gets bored with retired life a decade or so down the road, he might have a future as a scout. Lions coach Matt Patricia explains. 

"You know what’s amazing about Stafford, free agency, draft, any of that stuff, if you want information, ask him because he knows it sometimes better than we do," Patricia said at the NFL's league meetings on Tuesday. "He loves the game, which is what’s great as a coach because you’re like, 'What do you think about this guy?' And he’ll give you a rundown and you’re like, that was pretty good. He’s pretty right on. So that’s what I really love. It’s fun talking to him about everybody."

That's a valuable resource for a general manager or coach, having a quarterback who can identify a player's strengths and weaknesses, and presumably envision how he could work with those players, especially at running back, wide receiver or tight end. 

In addition to those positions, the Lions are also doing their homework on quarterback prospects this year, including the top options in the class.

For some NFL starters, that could be viewed as an ominous sign, a threat to their job security, but Patricia isn't worried about the team's thorough evaluation process impacting Stafford's mindset. 

"I think he’s pretty confident," Patricia said. "He’s been in the league a long time, he knows what it looks like. No different than any player on our team, no different than the O-line, no different than (linebacker Jarrad Davis). Everybody knows there’s competition every single day. (Cornerback Darius) Slay knows that. Everybody knows that’s what makes a team great, and no one should ever want to be handed anything in this game because then that breeds complacency and with complacency you can’t win with in this league."

 

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