Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has a well-established reputation for toughness. He provided another example of it on Tuesday.
One day after banging his hand against a helmet, Stafford fully participated in practice. He was determined not to miss it.
“It’s our first day in pads and I want to be out there,” Stafford told reporters after practice. “I want to be out there with these guys, every opportunity I get, whether I’m 100 percent or not. Every opportunity that I get to call, play and run against our defense and with our guys is an opportunity I need to get and I don’t want to waste them. If it was good enough to go, then I’m going to be out there to go.”
Stafford said that the thumb feels “pretty good . . . not too bad,” but that he plans to “kind of keep an eye on it over the next 24 hours or so.”
Structurally, Stafford is fine.
“Nothing [is] broken or fractured or torn,” he said. “Just kind of worked on it through the night to try and get it ready to practice today and it felt good enough, so we came out and practiced. . . . [It’s] never fun to have something as vital as the throwing thumb not feel 100 percent, but at the same time I’m sure happy that it wasn’t anything bad.”
Coach Sean McVay described the injury as a “good contusion,” but that the thumb “checked all the boxes in terms of the strength, things like that, but anytime that you’re a quarterback, it’s so important for that thing to be feeling good. And there was definitely a contusion there. He certainly probably isn’t going to say anything, but he was able to throw the ball really well, made a lot of big time plays today and got a bunch of good quality reps.”
McVay said that the team initially planned to give Stafford the day off, but that Stafford didn’t want to hear it.
“Earlier today we were planning on him not practicing,” McVay said, “and then he came out and he said, ‘No I’m practicing.’ And I said, ‘Okay, if you want to practice, let’s go.’ So that was kind of how it unfolded.”
It counts as a bullet dodged for the Rams, and it also will serve only to build on the existing excitement about what Stafford brings to the table. Still, it’s a reminder that any quarterback can get injured at any time. Whether it’s Stafford or someone else, the game entails plenty of risk — even as the NFL strives to keep making it safer. The league nevertheless is at its best when as many great players as possible are available to play. For Stafford, Monday’s incident ended up being just a scare, but it’s also a reminder about the fact that there’s an ever-present risk in 32 different training camps that a team’s fortunes can change dramatically on any given day.