In Detroit, we've been watching the battle for quarterback of the Detroit Lions with great interest. The battle has been between Matt Stafford, the number one overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, and Daunte Culpepper, the veteran Pro-Bowl quarterback who was signed last year with an understanding that he'd be allowed to compete for the starting job. Yes, Stafford will eventually win the battle, but Culpepper did a great job in the off-season and pre-season getting into shape and playing at a very high level ... and rookie quarterbacks often ride the bench for awhile while they acclimate to the pace of the pro game. And there's really no rush to start Stafford ... if you didn't notice, the Lions were 0-16 last year, so even if they improve their record by 3 wins (which is a great year in the NFL), they'll still be 3-13 and nowhere near the playoffs.
Anyways ... on Monday, the Lions announced that Stafford will be the starting quarterback for the entire season. And so, there's been a lot of speculation as to what Culpepper's reaction would be.
Well, late Tuesday, the Lions released a statement from Culpepper. He is exceedingly gracious in pledging his support for Stafford for the remainder of the year. The statement itself is worth reading ... but it ends as follows:
I am ready to settle into my role. Matt is a great guy and a talented young quarterback. I am confident that he will lead this team to plenty of victories in Detroit for a long time to come. I look forward to helping Matt in that mission in any way that I can this year. My role as his backup is not to be seen unless needed and not to be heard from unless required. The Lions organization has treated me with respect and class and they can expect the same from me.
I can only hope that I will be as gracious when I get replaced. Good on 'ya, mate.