Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL's offseason program will be virtual, at least through its early stages. The Detroit Lions will kick off the team's voluntary three-week program, which includes classroom study and home workouts, on April 27.
Even though players won't be able to attend, in person, at the team's practice facility in Allen Park, general manager Bob Quinn had some good news when it came to quarterback Matthew Stafford.
"Matthew is doing great," Quinn said Friday. "He’s probably like me, he’s home with children and he calls me probably once a week to check in. I know he’s working out. I know he’s feeling good, so health-wise, he’s good to go. As I said at the end of the season, if we were starting our offseason program next week, he’d be there as a full participant. He’s cleared medically, from that standpoint."
As Quinn notes, Stafford's clearance is in line with projections made by both the player and team late last year, while Stafford was recovering from a season-ending back injury.
Although the injuries aren't considered related, Stafford has reportedly suffered broken bones in his upper back each of the past two seasons. He was able to play through the pain in 2018, but the 2019 injury was deemed too severe to take the field.
Stafford missed Detroit's final eight games, snapping one of the longest iron man streaks for a quarterback in NFL history at 136 games. Not surprisingly, the team lost all eight contests he was out.
Stafford, 32, was in the middle of what was arguably his best statistical season prior to the injury. He was completing 64.3% of his passes and was on pace for 4,998 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 8.6 yards per pass attempt were a career high and second best in the NFL last season, behind only Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill.