Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford visited his alma mater on Saturday to participate in a skills competition at halftime of Georgia’s spring football game. And judging from his performance, Stafford is recovering nicely from offseason shoulder surgery.
At one point during the contest — which included fellow former Bulldogs QBs David Greene and Eric Zeier — Stafford launched a ball 50 yards to a fan who won a charity auction bid to pair up with him. Unfortunately, the fan dropped the ball. Hopefully, that won’t happen when Stafford hooks up on a deep ball with Calvin Johnson next season (or whenever the NFL ends its lockout).
It’s nice to see that Stafford still has his rocket launcher arm after Dr. James Andrews worked on his shoulder. But as Greene told reporters, what may have been more impressive during the skills competition is the accuracy he showed in slinging balls through a tire.
“He’s such a naturally good passer that it’s good to see him back passing the ball. It was impressive watching him hit three out of five in the tire throw, which I thought was the hardest event of them all because if you touch the tire at all, it’s going to kick out.”
Stafford later talked about his rehab process and how well it’s been going:
“I’ve just been rehabbing with Dr. (James) Andrews and doing whatever he wants me to do and whatever my trainers at the rehab facility have told me to do,” he said. “It hasn’t gone too bad at all, it’s actually gone pretty well."
So far, the results speak for themselves. Yes, it was a charity event, not NFL game conditions. “Nothing too crazy,” as Stafford said himself. But it’s certainly nice to be reading about the recovering quarterback making throws and impressing observers, rather than convalescing on the sidelines and making token public appearances.