Stafford keeps focus off contract talks with Lions

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By NOAH TRISTER

AP Sports Writer

ALLEN PARK — With one season remaining on his contract, Matthew Stafford is doing his best to keep quiet about any negotiations for a new deal.

The Detroit quarterback says talks are ongoing and his agent handles them.

“I’m honestly pretty tired of talking about it,” Stafford said. “I’m going to be here playing for 16 games at least. Hopefully a lot more than that, but we’ll see.”

The Lions reported for training camp Saturday, and when Stafford spoke to reporters, he immediately faced questions about his contract. Stafford has played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Lions after they took him with the top pick in the 2009 draft, and he’s started every game for Detroit since the beginning of the 2011 season.

“Five years on the deal, one year on the deal, three years on the deal — there’s no difference to me as far as my preparation,” Stafford said.

Detroit has reached the postseason two of the past three years, but the Lions haven’t won a playoff game since the 1991 season. Stafford has already surpassed 30,000 yards passing for his career, and he was instrumental in helping Detroit pull off several late comebacks last season. Although the Lions still struggle against top competition, Stafford has taken them to the playoffs three times, and losing him would send the team down a path of uncertainty.

At 29, he should still be very much in the prime of his career.

Stafford would surely draw plenty of interest if he played out this season and became a free agent. He says he’s not preoccupied with that possibility.

“I’m not into all that. I’m really just into focusing on football and helping our team win,” Stafford said. “If I spend time thinking about all that kind of stuff, it’s doing a disservice to the guys in the locker room. I don’t want to hear about it, they don’t want to hear about it.”

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