Black and Blue all over: Stafford and his new city

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
10:50
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press tackles the delicate task of juxtaposing Matthew Stafford's record-setting contract with the severe economic problems facing his new city.

Sharp: "Stafford's a Detroiter now. The richest rookie contract in NFL history ensures that he'll never share the economic upheaval gripping many in his newly adopted city, but it's important that Stafford proves that he at least hears their pain. He must prove himself worthy of the work ethic that still defines Detroit, especially in crisis."

So far, so good, according to Sharp. Stafford will receive $41.7 million in guaranteed money over the next few years, but he spoke genuinely about finding a way to help Detroiters. I jumped into his interview session Sunday and heard him say he wanted to find an avenue he is "passionate" about so that he could participate in the recovery beyond simply writing a check.

Sharp suggested buying tickets for families who have lost their jobs, or buying some foreclosed homes and turning them over to families in need. Whatever it is, Stafford seems interested in helping. The best thing he can do, of course, is turn the Lions around.

Stafford: "I also want to give them something to cheer about on Sundays. Winning football games takes a lot off people's minds, and we have the unique opportunity as NFL players to provide an entertainment source for people."

We're getting a bit of a late start here Monday but I hope you understand. Before we start the sprint, let's take a quick look around the division on the morning after the draft. (Yes, it is still morning.)

  • Stafford isn't assuming he will open the season on the Lions' bench, writes Angelique S. Chengelis of the Detroit News. "I'm going to fight like hell to get out there as soon as I can," Stafford said.
  • Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune on the Vikings' draft: "[Brad] Childress and [Rick] Spielman -- with a financial assist from [Zygi] Wilf -- have built something close to a championship-caliber roster. If, that is, Childress and his quarterbacks are ready to take advantage of their advantages."
  • Among the undrafted players the Vikings signed was Boise State running back Ian Johnson, the player who proposed to his cheerleader/girlfriend immediately after the Fiesta Bowl two years ago. The Star Tribune has a preliminary list of signed players here.
  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the second day of the Packers draft: "... [Ted] Thompson's second day was like his first in one way: The emphasis was on big-body positions on both sides of the ball."
  • The Packers are no closer to knowing who their starting right tackle is after this draft, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Chicago is projecting third-round pick Jarron Gilbert as a defensive tackle, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Third-round receiver Juaquin Iglesias has the best chance of contributing to the Bears right away, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

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