Matthew Stafford had good reasons to opt out of season. Here's why he will play in 2020

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

If there was going to be one big star to opt out of the NFL season due to coronavirus concerns, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had good reasons.

His wife, Kelly, had a highly publicized bout with acoustic neuroma, a tumor that develops on the main nerve leading from someone’s inner ear to their brain. She had the tumor removed from her brain in 2019. The couple has four young children, including a daughter who was born in late June. On top of that, Stafford had a scare with a false positive test for COVID-19.

Stafford said he didn’t really consider sitting out this season, though he did talk to his family about it.

Matthew Stafford discussed opting out with wife, family

Stafford spoke with the media covering the Lions on Tuesday and said he did talk to Kelly and the family about playing, but they were supportive of him going ahead with the Lions.

“I think like everybody, you hear it and you talk with your spouse and you talk with your family about it,” Stafford said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I never gave it serious thought. I want to play football, I want to be out here. I have a supporting wife and family that know I love doing what I do and know it’s important to me so they were right on board there with me.”

The NFL had 66 players opt out of this season, and it’s hard to criticize any of them for being worried about their health or family.

Like a vast majority of NFL players, Stafford decided to play. That was after he became an odd case with his false positive, which caused some to make a conclusion that he had the virus since he was put on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Matthew Stafford throws a football.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford decided to not opt out of 2020 NFL season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Matthew Stafford isn’t upset at NFL

Kelly Stafford outlined how she and her family were treated poorly after news came out that Matthew Stafford was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The NFL specifies that teams can’t say if a player tested positive if they’re put on the list, but people will connect dots when players go on a list for COVID-19.

Stafford didn’t seem too bothered, and defended the league’s protocols, which have changed since Stafford’s false positive test.

“Probably tougher for them than it was for me, but it was also really just tough for me knowing what they were going through, having to talk to her about how her days were and trying to deal with getting the kids back in school, all that,” Stafford said, according to the Free Press. “There were just quite a few things that had to happen, but at the same time it’s not lost on me that there’s plenty of people that are having a much harder time than we did.

“Ours was a few days that lasted and got corrected, and I know the league is going to do everything they can to correct that. But at the same time there’s plenty of people walking out there, or not walking, that are in hospitals that are really fighting for their life. And that’s not lost on me or my family. We know that this virus is affecting a lot of people in much worse ways than it did us.”

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