In his first television interview since the trade was announced, former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford sat down to discuss one of the most challenging decisions of his professional career.
After embracing the fans and the City of Detroit for over a decade, Stafford decided following the conclusion of the 2020 season that he needed to part ways with the only organization he has played since the 2009 season.
According to multiple reports, the veteran quarterback initially approached ownership shortly after the conclusion of the season to discuss his future, but the conversation was tabled during the team's general manager and head coach search.
After general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell were hired, Stafford spoke with both and it was mutually agreed upon that his tenure in Detroit would end.
Speaking with WDIV-TV, Stafford recalled securing Detroit's first playoff berth in several seasons back in 2011 and also the anguish felt when Aaron Rodgers successfully completed a Hail Mary in a nationally televised game.
"I have a lot of great memories here. A lot of tough ones, too," Stafford said.
One of the toughest conversations Stafford ever recalls having was informing the organization of his decision to leave.
"Probably the hardest conversation I ever had in my life, you know? It was a really tough, really tough deal," he said. "I got to give the Lions a bunch of credit for the way they handled it. I have all the respect in the world for the Ford family."
He not only credited the Lions organization for handling his request to be traded respectfully but also for finding creative ways to send him to the Los Angles Rams.
Despite not meeting his goal of bringing a Lombardi Trophy to Detroit, Stafford will always remain fond of his time in Detroit and has plenty of memories to take with him to Los Angeles.
Recommended Lions Articles
CB Bryce Callahan Listed as Free Agent Detroit Lions Should Pursue
Do the Detroit Lions need to upgrade the cornerback position?
Frank Ragnow Knew Penei Sewell Was 'Gonna Be Special' from Day One
Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow provides an injury update, and shares his opinion of rookie Penei Sewell at his season-ending media session.
Jerry Jacobs: You Can Be NFL Starter Any Day
Jerry Jacobs shares an update on his injury rehab, and recapped his 2021 season.
"I think success in this league is tough to come by, especially sustaining success," Stafford explained. "We had a few good years in there. Nothing would have made me happier than bringing the Lombardi Trophy home to Detroit. It's not the way it's going to end, but I still have a ton of great memories professionally."
More from SI All Lions:
Get the latest Detroit Lions news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our SI All Lions page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @DetroitPodcast.