NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford is as tough as they come, from his competitive nature to his high pain tolerance. Throughout his 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, there were many instances where Stafford would suit up and play when he was not expected to due to a serious injury -- and it's something that seems to be occurring more now that he's in his 30s. The Lions and Stafford parted ways this offseason, as he was sent to the Los Angeles Rams in return for a trio of picks and quarterback Jared Goff. Many expect this change of scenery to benefit the one-time Pro Bowler, since the Rams have plenty of talent to work with. However, the Rams stand to benefit as well, as Stafford is a bonafide leader with a talented arm who refuses to let bumps and bruises affect his play.

In a recent Q&A with the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom asked Stafford about the injuries he had to deal with during the 2020 season. While everyone knew Stafford was working through a couple of different ailments this past year, no one knew how many. 

"I mean, this past year was bad," Stafford said. "I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That's why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place.

"I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain."

Toughing it out through these injuries is one thing, but why keep it all under wraps? Stafford said he did so because he knew the city of Detroit was dealing with much more serious issues than his physical pain. 

"For them it's not injuries on their hands and ankles and ribs," Stafford said. "It's 'Where am I going to get the money to pay the mortgage? And how am I going to get my car from here to there?'"

Stafford's dedication to the Lions franchise and the city of Detroit will always be remembered, and it's the attitude he possesses as a leader that has Rams fans excited about their potential in 2021.