The Detroit Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, when they were dominated by the “Legion of Boom” Seattle Seahawks in a 26-6 first round loss.
It was a disappointing end to the playoff career of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has nearly triple the amount of passing yards as former Lions legend Bobby Layne (albeit with three less NFL titles), good for first all-time in the franchise’s history.
Now that Stafford is heading to the LA Rams via a trade that brought Jared Goff to the Lions, the former Georgia Bulldog and #1 overall pick’s legacy with the Lions has been hotly debated.
Recently another former first round pick of the Lions, tight end T.J. Hockenson, weighed in with his own opinions on the former Lions gunslinger in an interview with Mlive.com out of Michigan.
“He is probably the best dude, the best player I’ve ever been around. Period. Like period,” Hockenson said of his former signal caller.
“I mean, the dude did some crazy stuff in practice. Like, my rookie year, my first year, I was on the outside and I ran an in route, you know? Two yards inside the end zone, Marvin Jones is over here, but he’s looking at Marvin Jones the entire time, and I come around, and I’m a rookie, right? So, I’ve never seen this. He no-looked passed me, and I’m like, I double caught it. I got my feet down and everything. I looked at him and I was like, ‘Dude, did you just no-look me?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I saw it caught you off guard.’ I was like, ‘Yup. It did.’ He would do anything for his dudes, too.
Hockenson said that Stafford was beloved by his teammates as well, despite a recent history of failing to lead the team to the playoffs and falling short in big games.
Stafford’s statistics, leadership, and character were among the reasons why he will be remembered fondly in Detroit.
“He’s one of those guys, again, for the boys, for all of us, he was like, ‘y’all do all this during the week. Y’all do everything I ask of you, and I’m going to go out there and do everything I can for you guys.’ Hockenson said in the interview, which can be read here.
“Everybody on our team respected that guy. Like everybody loved him. He will forever put a stamp on my career and in the city of Detroit. He’s, I mean, he was, like I said, one of the best — the best player I’ve ever played with.”
The former Iowa tight end, who has averaged a little less than 50 receptions and over 500 yards in his first two seasons, added that the team was disappointed with the trade, but also that he’s excited with the addition of Goff as the team’s new offensive leader.
“There’s not a guy in our locker room that’s not rooting for that guy to get a ring. I mean, all of us loved him.”