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Barry Sanders reacts to Matthew Stafford’s looming split with Lions

Matthew Stafford, Barry Sanders, Lions

The Detroit Lions will likely be seeing one of their longest-tenured players in quarterback Matthew Stafford leave this offseason. The 2014 Pro Bowler won’t be the first to depart Detroit relatively early as they have seen before running back Barry Sanders retire from the league at the age of 30 by the end of the 1998 season.

Speaking of Sanders, the Hall of Famer tailback then spoke regarding the current situation between Stafford and the Lions organization and how the two parties reached this point after their 12-year partnership.

“It sounds like both parties kind of were at that point,” Sanders said via Good Morning Football. “It will be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford, who I feel like in a lot of ways carried the franchise for the last decade. A guy who showed up every day. You felt like you always had a chance with Matt. Maybe because of the new regime coming in and just seeing things different, sometimes things like this just happen.”

Stafford has been at the helm of Detroit’s offense ever since he was selected by the Lions with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Despite the lack of weapons, Stafford still managed to make the most out of the opportunities presented to him. However, the last straw came when the Lions underwent a house cleaning before finishing the season with a dismal 5-11 record in the 2020 NFL season.

He broke several league and franchise records along the way and brought the Lions to three postseason appearances in 2011, 2014, and 2016. The 32-year-old playmaker now holds career totals of 45,109 passing yards on 3,898 completions and 282 touchdowns through 12 seasons with the team.

Sanders believes that Stafford still has a lot left in the tank and that he can still provide an impact as a starting quarterback for other teams in the league. Nonetheless, Stafford’s impact on the Lions can never be overlooked and it will definitely be hard to replace a guy like him moving forward.

“I know Matt has a lot of good football left in him,” Sanders added. “I know as a Lions fan, I wish him well. It certainly will be very difficult to replace a guy like that, who put up the kind of numbers he has over his career.”

Hopefully, Matthew Stafford can seek greener pastures with his next destination and have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl title before he reaches the twilight zone of his career.