Follett on Stafford: First calls him china doll, then compares him to Dan Marino
Here we go. Lions linebacker Zack Follett called quarterback Matthew Stafford a "china doll" during an ESPN radio interview in Fresno on Tuesday. Later in the day during a Detroit radio interview Follett explained himself and, in fact, compared Stafford to Dan Marino.
"It was just kind of my personal opinion. It's the luck of the draw, he's had bad luck. I have do doubt that he can come and play a full season, he's a tough kid. I'll tell you right now I'm glad we have Matthew Stafford instead of the Bears quarterback (Jay Cutler) because he goes in and plays with separated shoulders in some games,'' Follett told a Detroit radio station.
"It definitely wasn't a knock on him, we just want to get him healthy,'' Follett continued. "He's a competitor and I'm not saying that he's not, I think he's proved that. He's had some bad luck early in his career.
"If we get him healthy I'd compare him to Dan Marino as far as his arm strength and accuracy. I'm just excited to get him back on the field,'' Follett said.
Stafford unexpectedly had shoulder surgery on Friday and is expected to make a full recovery. Afterward his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, said "I am confident he will be as strong as ever."
Stafford started just three games this past season due to two right/throwing shoulder injuries. In his rookie season in 2009 Stafford started 10 of 16 games because of shoulder and knee injuries.
In one memorable win over Cleveland in 2009, he got up off the turf on the sidelines, surrounded by doctors, got back in the game and proceeded to win it with a touchdown pass even though his left/non-throwing shoulder was separated.
His toughness has never been questioned by his teammates. And it sounds like Follett didn't mean it that way.
In the earlier radio interview Follett said: "Stafford's a good guy. He’s a china doll right now. Anytime he gets hit, he goes down. But the kid is, hopefully, it’s just patiently waiting for him, because the kid is an awesome talent. He has a tremendous arm. The throws that he makes during practice when no one can touch him, he looks like an All-American quarterback, but put him in a game, and you hit his shoulder. So hopefully, say a couple prayers, keep him healthy next year, and the Lions can do some damage in the NFC.”
Follett was knocked out for the season during the Oct. 17 game at the Giants when he had to be carter off the field on a backboard. He told reporters on Jan. 3 that he is still undergoing rehab and is uncertain if he'll be able to play football again.
(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)