Rams QB Matthew Stafford on 2024 return: ‘That’s my..

Rams QB Matthew Stafford on 2024 return: ‘That’s my plan right now’.

Stafford was at times brilliant in Detroit, but also battered by the Lions rush. Afterward he said he plans to be back next season.

DETROIT – Fresh off the bitterness of a season cut short in the wild-card round of the playoffs, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford sounded ready to give it another go in 2024.

Asked in his press conference following the Rams’ 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions if he would return for a 16th season, Stafford answered in the affirmative.

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“That’s my plan right now,” Stafford said. “Yeah, my plan is to be back and you’re going to have to deal with me for another year, so have fun with that.”

Following the 2022 season, there was reason to wonder if Stafford, less than a year removed from his first Super Bowl title, could be entering the twilight of his career.

Injuries ravaged his 2022 campaign. An elbow sprain limited him in training camp and lingered into the regular season. A concussion cost him one game, then a spinal cord bruise ended his season in November.

But Stafford reported for camp in July – after being asked by the Rams to consider restructuring his contract – stating he was as healthy as he could remember entering a season. That was apparent as he began throwing the kinds of precise passes at bizarre arm angles that have become a signature of his career.

After missing the game before the Rams’ bye with a sprained ligament in his thumb, Stafford returned with his team facing a 3-6 record and played his best football of the year. Across the Rams’ 7-1 finish to qualify for the playoffs, Stafford threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions.

All the while, he bonded with a young roster, including helping Puka Nacua break the 63-year-old rookie receiving record.

“A jolt of energy. Man, it was fun. I had a blast. It was a heck of a challenge, but I got to sit there and push guys, but also watch guys come into their own in this league and it’s not an easy thing to do,” Stafford said. “So proud of those guys and happy to be a part of a team that has a group of guys like that.”

Try as he might, Stafford could not will the Rams to another improbable win against his former team. In his first game back in Detroit, Stafford completed 25 of 36 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He endured two sacks and a few more hits that led to a concussion test and sore ribs as he tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback that would come up short.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else as our quarterback other than Matthew Stafford. He was outstanding, he was gritty, he was gutsy, he made tough throw after tough throw,” head coach Sean McVay said. “He certainly gave us a chance and we would’ve never been in this situation without Matthew Stafford’s leadership, his guidance, his resilience. He was one of the main catalysts for what was right about this football team, and I know he’ll be excited about coming back next year as well.”

Stafford and McVay know they won’t be returning to the exact same locker room as this year, even if you ignore the Rams’ pending move of their headquarters to Woodland Hills. Rosters always churn in the NFL, and the Rams have a full array of draft picks and nearly $50 million in cap space to make moves that could take the team to the next level.

But this season is the foundation for what’s next, a journey that both McVay and Stafford are ready to embark on together.

“You want to continue to grow,” McVay said. “You’ve got to do a great job of identifying the people that we want to be able to move forward with, who we want to be able to onboard, I think that was a key factor for why we were able to get back to doing some of the decent things that we were able to do, but it’s all about the right people. And so I think, right now, what I want to make sure is, is that these guys feel the appreciation on my end for what they did.”

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