Lions fined $110,000 for not updating Matthew Stafford’s status


MINNEAPOLIS — The Detroit Lions and members of its football operations were fined $110,000 total for not properly updating the injury status of quarterback Matthew Stafford before the Nov. 10 game against the Chicago Bears — the first game Stafford missed since the start of the 2011 season.

The NFL fined the Lions as an organization $75,000, along with head coach Matt Patricia $25,000 and general manager Bob Quinn $10,000, for the way they handled Stafford on the injury report. Stafford had fractured bones in his back in the loss to Oakland on Nov. 3 and while he practiced all week, he was listed as questionable on the Friday injury report ahead of the game against the Bears.

Detroit never updated Stafford’s status to being doubtful or out, even though by Saturday he was being labeled by reports as a game-time decision and then ruled out Sunday morning. Multiple players then told ESPN and other outlets they were informed Saturday that Stafford would not be able to play, leading to more questions about how the franchise handled the reporting of Stafford’s injury.

After Detroit’s loss to Chicago, Patricia said “it was unsafe” for Stafford to play, but declined to get into specifics about the timeline at the time — a timeline that remained murky in the days after the game as questions persisted about the timing of the injury.

On Monday, the day after the game, he offered a little more clarity, including saying he told the team Saturday night to prepare for all options.

“I would say the timeline for us was when we got to Chicago late Saturday night, got done with meetings, I think at that point in time that I just knew he wouldn’t start,” Patricia said. “And out of respect for him and everything that he’s done for this organization, I just wanted to leave the option open when we got to Sunday if he wanted to dress.”

The NFL policy states, “if, prior to the team’s arrival at the stadium on game day, an event occurs that causes the club to decide that a player will not start or will not play, the club must update its Game Status Report.”

The Lions never updated the status of Stafford. Stafford, 31, has not practiced or played since that time and Patricia said earlier this week they have not put Stafford on injured reserve out of respect for him and his toughness. Stafford said if he is able, he would still like to play in 2019.

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