Over the past month, speculation on how long Matthew Stafford will remain with the Detroit Lions has reached new heights.
Then the Lions released its weekly Sights and Sounds video.
And it took the speculation to another level.
In the Lions’ last game of the season vs. the Minnesota Vikings, Stafford was mic’d up for the entire game. While there is no indication of an imminent transaction, his commentary came off as a man who knew he played his last game in Detroit.
After all, with the several injuries that he was battling before the game, why else would suit up in a meaningless matchup unless it was his last as a Detroit Lion.
If you think it’s a reach, check out one of the first things he said in the video mentioned above.
“Aye whatever you got left in the f****** tank, let it out today! Let’s go!” said Stafford to his teammates during a pregame huddle.
“Let’s end this thing the right way [and] get a win!”
Now that opening quote can mean a multitude of things. It can mean that Stafford encouraged his teammates to end the season on a high note after a rocky start. Or it could mean that he wanted to end his time in Detroit with a positive memory.
After relieving Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia from their duties as general manager and head coach, all signs point to the Lions going through another rebuild.
Stafford, 32, just finished his 12th season with the Lions.
Outside of his one Pro Bowl appearance and several passing records, he doesn’t have many NFL accomplishments. With his prime years seemingly behind him, many wonder if Stafford’s patience can withstand another rebuild.
Stafford’s body language and facial expressions during the video can tell a better story than some words will.
When looking at cinematic sports highlights videos, sometimes it’s easy to see a player’s emotions in their eyes.
In the case of Matthew Stafford, check out the 1-minute mark of the 9-minute clip above.
If his eyes could tell a story, it looks as if he wanted to savor his last moment walking onto Ford Field for a game.
The most emotional moments of the clip came toward the end of the game. That’s when Stafford began to express his gratitude for interim coach Darrell Bevell and his teammates.
Both Bevell and Stafford said how much they loved and appreciated each other, with the QB letting his coach know he did a helluva job.
The most telling exchange was between him and Marvin Jones.
Similar to his exchange with Bevell, Stafford and Jones expressed how much they loved each other. The difference came when Jones told Stafford, “That was fun, man…classic 9-1-1.”
Stafford followed up by saying, “I loved it…I loved it.”
With the Lions losing the game and not making the playoffs, the “was” and “loved” in both Stafford and Jones comments can raise some eyebrows.
Both spoke in the past tense of his connection as if they know their time together as teammates ended.
As of right now, the Detroit Lions do not have a coach or general manager in place. Sheila Ford-Hamp said if Matthew Stafford returns next season, it will be up to them.
If Stafford did play his last game in Detroit, he went out on his shield. Quite frankly, fans should not have wanted his tenure to end any other way if it is indeed over.
Contact Kory Woods at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @koryewoods.