Kerby Joseph 'Shocked' Matthew Stafford Called Him 'Dirty' Player

Joseph explained his side of interaction with former Lions QB.
Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph (31) celebrates a play.
Jan 21, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph (31) celebrates a play. / Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph has quickly established himself as a physical presence in the secondary. 

Just two seasons into his career, the Illinois product has been vital in the team’s revival. He has recorded eight interceptions already in his career while also packing a punch as a tackler. 

One hit in particular garnered national attention. In the NFL Wild Card round, he delivered a hit on Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee. It came at a crucial juncture in the game, and Higbee suffered an injury on the play. 

Immediately following that sequence, Joseph was called a dirty player by Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. 

Speaking on a recent pepisode of ‘Chris and Company’ with host Chris Castellani, Joseph explained his side of the play. 

“First off, I want to say prayers out to that boy and his family, ‘cause I know I got some heat from that hit," Joseph said. "It’s all cool, I ain’t really tripping on it. But I made the play, and I was kind of, not necessarily gonna say happy but I was up about making the play. I didn’t know he was messed up how he was, but that was a crucial play in the game. If they got that play, then it’s game over for us. I had to make that play and I was excited that I made that play. I got up and then Matthew Stafford came at me. It was crazy because, at first, I’m up, celebrating with my team. And then I hear, ‘Hey, that’s a good hit.’" 

Joseph stated that Stafford’s reaction took him by surprise. When he first heard Stafford’s comment, he believe it was coming from one of his teammates. 

Yet, Stafford proceeded to call the Illinois product “Dirty as (expletive),” which stunned Joseph. 

“When I heard it, I was just shocked. I’m like, bro, I’ve got to tackle him," Joseph explained. "In my head, I’m saying, if you’ve seen it on film, you should’ve never thrown it because you saw me see him open. You’ve got to do a better job protecting your guy. You’ve seen me back there when I’m locked in. I’m playing the game too.” 

Lions taking that 'next step'

The Lions’ season came to a disappointing end against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. 

With high expectations facing the team now, the Lions will not be viewed as an upstart but rather a contender. 

As a result, Joseph said the Lions aren’t looking to turn the page on the end of the 2023 campaign but rather use it as fuel and a reminder of what they are capable of. 

“It wasn’t no turn the page. It was kind of like that, but it was more like, ‘Y’all need to realize this is not a joke.’ It was a talk of, we’re actually capable of doing this but every little detail matters," Joseph stated. "Now we see that and so it’s like, now it’s time to take that next step again and get the job all the way done. In the past, it was like the Lions, in close games, they couldn’t finish. Now we understand finishing. Throughout the time, we just kept getting better. Kept going, kept going. Dan will tell you, that’s exactly what he tells us, keep going.” 

Christian Booher