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Matthew Stafford played through major back issues within the last three years of his NFL career, but a former Super Bowl-champion linebacker said Thursday the quarterback is not tough enough to play for the New England Patriots.
Tedy Bruschi, a former Patriots linebacker who won three titles with the team before joining ESPN as an NFL analyst, told 97.1 The Ticket that Stafford wouldn’t be able to handle being coached in New England.
“He’s not tough enough to play here. He’s just not tough enough,” Bruschi said. “I don’t think he’s tough enough to be coached hard. Do you realize the mental toughness that Tom Brady had to have for 20 years to deal with Bill Belichick and that type of coaching? I mean, constant pressure every single day. Does Stafford sort of grab you as a guy who could handle that? I just don’t think so.
“He went to Sean McVay and his little best friend relationship and go have fun over there. That’s fine.”
In the wake of the blockbuster trade, NBC Sports Boston reported that Stafford was willing to go just about anywhere except for New England. The quarterback would have also been reunited with coach Matt Patricia who rejoined the Patriots’ staff in the offseason months after he was fired by the Lions. Patricia’s presence on the Patriots was “probably not a selling point,” according to the report.
Stafford’s toughness probably isn’t questionable. He had seven straight seasons of 4,000 or more passing yards but only made the playoffs three times. He reportedly played the 2018 season with “tiny fractures” in his back and was kept out for half of the 2019 season with further back issues.