The Detroit Lions were fined $75,000 by the NFL for failing to properly update the injury status of quarterback Matthew Stafford before a Week 10 game against the Chicago Bears, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Additional fines went to Lions head coach Matt Patricia for $25,000 and general manager Bob Quinn for $10,000.
The NFL reviewed whether the Lions were in violation of league protocol regarding Stafford, who was ruled questionable for the game with a back and hip injury. Stafford remained questionable for the game despite reports that the Lions quarterback suffered fractured bones in his back, an injury he suffered in a Week 9 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Stafford was ruled inactive for the Bears game, snapping his consecutive starts streak at 136 games, they knew Stafford wasn’t going to play the day before the game — despite his injury designation not changing.
Lions coach Matt Patricia defended himself the Monday after the Lions fell to the Bears, explaining they waited until Sunday morning to see if Stafford would be able to dress for the game.
“He felt really good through the course of the week, so that was all positive from that standpoint,” Patricia said. “We had some additional scanning Friday evening that took place. That scanning really caused us to have some further internal discussions over the weekend. That was really what kind of sparked some of those conversations. The discussions, the details of those I’m going to leave private because they’re medical conversations.”
Stafford hasn’t played since being inactive in Week 10, as backup quarterback Jeff Driskel started the next three games and third string quarterback David Blough started on Thanksgiving. Stafford has not been placed on injured reserve as he has hopes to return before the close of the season.
“I felt like I was playing really good ball this year and something that was kind of a freak deal that happened, and obviously got to take it in stride and listen to doctors, my body, coaches and figure out what’s best,” Stafford said Wednesday, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “But I was having a lot of fun playing when I was out there and wish I could be out there now trying to help us win games.”
The Lions fine is not the first the NFL has handed out in 2019 for failure to use a proper injury designation. The Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin were fined a total of $100,000 for hiding Ben Roethlisberger’s injury in Week 2, which happened to be the game before he landed on injured reserve and was ruled out for the season.