With the Rams sitting at 3–6 and another injury to tend to, quarterback Matthew Stafford’s NFL future figures to once again become a hot topic coming out of the club’s Week 10 bye.
The short break has afforded Stafford, 35, extra time to heal from a UCL sprain in his right thumb he sustained in Week 8, which sidelined him in Week 9. Given his circumstances, ongoing retirement rumors have continued to follow Stafford but, as the 15-year veteran made clear on Friday, his career still remains full speed ahead.
Appearing on ESPN’s The Pat McAfee Show, Stafford field a question asking why he continues to play and whether he plans to keep “going ‘til the wheels fall off.” After jokingly hinting at some sight weariness, however, Stafford doubled down on his love for the sport and the Rams, telling McAfee he’s still enjoying playing football “too much to hang it up.”
“I don’t think I’ll go until the wheels completely fall off, they’re wobbling a little bit right now as we speak,” Stafford said. “But, no, I love playing this game, I love competing. I love being in the locker room with the guys. I’ll never get that again, so I want to make sure I get as many opportunities to do that as I can.
“I love this team, I love the city, it’s been a blast. Obviously, had a bunch of success in our first year and trying to duplicate that either this year, next year, whenever it is. But, I enjoy playing too much to hang it up.”
Are you going until the wheels fall off..
"I don't think I'll go until the wheels completely fall off and they're wobbling a little bit right now 😂😂
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 10, 2023
As one of the few active players who are likely Canton-bound, Stafford has plenty of reasons to walk away, including his well-documented injury history, his age and the ability to spend more time with his family.
For now, though, Stafford’s focus appears to still be on sticking with the Rams going forward, and recovering from his thumb injury in an effort to lead L.A. to a turnaround.
Currently No. 11 on the NFL’s all-time passing list, Stafford has recorded 2,070 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.