Matthew Stafford gutted out the end of the 2018 season playing through yet another injury, as he battled a back injury suffered against the Rams in early December.
The Lions never revealed the exact nature of the injury, but Stafford received extensive treatment on his back over the last month of the season and fought to the bitter end of a 6-10 season.
Stafford started all 16 games for the Lions in 2018, extending his iron man streak to 128 consecutive starts - the third longest streak among active NFL quarterbacks and sixth longest in league history. Stafford said last fall the streak is something that means a lot to him, especially after playing just 13 games total in his first two seasons with the Lions.
"Well documented first two years. Missed a bunch," Stafford said in December, according to DetroitLions.com. "Wanted to prove to my teammates this organization, myself and everybody that I can be out there for extended periods of time and have been lucky enough to be able to do that. Just try to be there week-in and week-out and let these guys in this locker room know who's going to be under center.
It turns out, Stafford's back injury may have been more serious than what had been led on last season. In the most recent episode of the Ken Brown and Mike O'Hara Podcast, O'Hara - a writer for DetroitLions.com - dropped some seemingly new information while talking about Stafford's durability:
"He is durable, but he does play with injuries. Turns out he had a broken back last year. Broken bones in his back," O'Hara said on the podcast posted on Friday.
His co-host immediately replied, "were you supposed to say that?"
"It's been reported," O'Hara said after a brief pause.
"It's been reported? I didn't see that - Did you put that report out?" Brown says with a chuckle.
"Just now," O'Hara responded. "No, I read that. Word gets out in the National Football League."
The Lions had never disclosed specifics of the injury -- which he suffered in a game where he was sacked four times against the Rams -- but it appears he had broken bones, though O'Hara didn't specify any further details of the injury.
Stafford ultimately played through the pain in the final four games of the season, accumulating just 691 passing yards and three touchdowns in that span.
Stafford has been actively participating in Lions offseason workouts over the last few weeks.