Posted April 17, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Matthew Stafford was hanging out in Georgia a year ago, recovering from surgery on his right shoulder and waiting for the NFL's labor problems to end.
The quarterback, his throwing arm and the league are in much better shape these days.
''It's nice to not have to put myself back together,'' Stafford said Monday as he joined his teammates for their first voluntary workout of the year to lift weights, run and throw passes to receivers without coaches allowed to observe.
Stafford threw for 5,000-plus yards and 41 touchdowns last season to lead Detroit to its first playoff appearance since the 1999 season. The Lions were able to keep all the players they wanted, other than cornerback Eric Wright, who left to sign with Tampa Bay, and also kept much of their coaching staff together.
''We're building,'' Stafford said. ''We're not starting from scratch.''
While the Lions are trying to ride the momentum created last season, Stafford said coach Jim Schwartz had an off-the-field message to deliver during Monday's team meeting after two players were in the news recently. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested earlier this month on a charge of possessing marijuana and running back Mikel Leshoure had marijuana with him during two traffic stops in less than a month, according to authorities.
''We've come so far, we don't want anything to hold us back,'' Stafford recalled Schwartz telling the team. ''I think everybody knows that. We're a mature team. Obviously, some of the guys that were having troubles off the field are younger, but they'll figure it out and we'll be there to help them along.''
Stafford said Fairley and Leshoure didn't address the team.
The Lions started this week's workouts without defensive end Cliff Avril, who is still hoping to sign a long-term deal instead of a one-year contract with the non-exclusive franchise tag. The designation allows other teams to negotiate with Avril that are willing to give up a pair of first-round picks to sign him, knowing the Lions would have the option of matching the offer.
Linebacker DeAndre Levy and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard did work out with teammates after signing their tenders as restricted free agents, as did defensive tackle Sammie Hill even though he hadn't signed his tender.
''Everybody is happy to be back together,'' Stafford said. ''We finished with a good season last year and we're looking to build off of it for this year.''
Stafford said he has been getting in ''great shape'' by training for several weeks with other NFL players in Florida. He played in 17 games last season, including a 45-41 loss to Green Bay in the wild-card round, after injuries limited the 2009 No. 1 pick overall to just 13 games combined in his first two seasons.
How does it make him feel, he was asked, to not have to answer so many injury-related questions?
''It's great, except you just asked me one,'' Stafford joked.
Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Though many former players are suffering from the effects of playing professional football, Lions center Dominic Raiola is not concerned.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Former NFL players are piling on when it comes to lawsuits against the league for the head injuries they sustained during the course of their careers.
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola doesnt plan to be part of that litigation one day.
When Im at home in my rocking chair at 40, I dont think Im going to be thinking about suing the NFL, Raiola, 33, said Tuesday...
The 2012 NFL schedule was released Tuesday at 7:00PM. The news surrounding the release was a bit absurd (ESPN had a three-hour special on it), but as expected everyone wants to see how many wins they can foreshadow their favorite team getting.
Here is the Lions preseason and regular season. They will have one primetime preseason games and four regular season primetime tilts. But...
You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know of the dreaded Madden curse, which, coincidentally or not, has led to disappointing seasons for many of the stars that have graced the cover of EA Sports’ pride and joy.
Whether or not you buy in to the fable is immaterial; the guys who, you know, actually step out onto the field on Sundays feel the jinx is alive and well.
If Calvin Johnson winds up winning the Madden cover vote and suffers an injury next season, Lions fans may blame more than just the Madden jinx. Those who are particularly superstitious could take aim at Nate Burleson. Burleson, who claims to be a big Madden fan, admitted to Mlive.com that he believes in the Madden cover curse. Despite that, he says he is still going to vote for...
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola says he knew the risk of playing in the NFL.
With that in mind, Raiola told the Detroit Free Press that he would never sue the league for any injury incurred because it is "common knowledge" that it's just part of the game.
"It's worth it. It's totally worth it," Raiola told the newspaper on Tuesday. "This...
Here is a way-too-early, week-by-week prediction breakdown of the Detroit Lions' schedule, released Tuesday night, with the opponents' 2011 records in parenthesis:
SEPTEMBER 9 VS. ST. LOUIS (2-14)
The Rams, who ended the season on a seven-game losing streak, hired a new coach, Jeff Fisher, and signed 10 free agents. Not going to matter here.
According to CBS Sports writer Jeff Reynolds, the Lions will not defy logic and will address the position that fills their greatest need; defensive back. With some of the difficulties the Detroit defense had at keeping points off the board at times last season, this has seemed like a foregone conclusion to many draft experts. But does Schwartz and the draft team have a particular...
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola says he expects to suffer
from short-term memory loss when his career is over.
Take a look at the Detroit Lions 2012 schedule. Any predictions? With a hand full of primetime games, along with some key home games, this year sure will be fun to watch!
Week 1 – Sept. 9 – vs. St. Louis Rams (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 2 – Sept. 16 – at San Francisco 49ers (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Week 3 – Sept. 23 – at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 4 – Sept...
It wasn't easy, but Cam has moved onto the final round of the 2013 Madden Cover Bracket. In his closest win of the first four rounds, he took out Patrick Willis with 53% of the vote last week. His next opponent, former Georgia Tech and current Detroit Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, beat out Aaron Rodgers.
If you're all about this Madden Curse and don't want Cam...
Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers was in court last week over multiple warrants in his native Saginaw. Rogers pleaded not guilty in to five misdemeanor charges levied against him.
One of the charges included making a malicious phone call to his mother Cathy Rogers. According to a police report, Rogers threatened to kill his mother over a $100,000 debt.