ATHENS — Former Georgia star and Detroit Lions veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford has taken advantage of the Peach State’s reopening to get some work in with new teammates.
Stafford said in a videoconference last week that he has been working in Atlanta with fellow former Bulldogs’ D’Andre Swift and Isaac Nauta in preparation for his NFL team’s offseason camps.
“I was in California and I was able to throw with Kenny (Golladay) and Danny (Amendola) a few times out there, I’m in Atlanta now,” Stafford said on the Thursday Zoom call. “Danny came down to Atlanta for four or five days and we got some work in, which was great.
“Recently I’ve thrown with some of our newer draft picks, obviously Swift and (Quintez) Cephus and Isaac Nauta is in town, as well.”
The addition of young, talented Georgia players who will have Stafford’s back in the locker room could be just what the Lions need to get over the hump.
Swift posted a picture on social media showing him working out with Stafford on Saturday.
Swift and Nauta were working out with Stafford earlier in May in Florida
“I’m just trying to be available for guys as much as I can,” Stafford said.
The Lions’ second-round draft pick at No. 35 overall, Swift is a player who obviously excites Stafford.
“He’s a back that can kind of do it all,” Stafford said. “I think he does a good job out of the backfield catching the ball and making big plays.
“They handed it to him a bunch and he was doing a great job running with it.”
Stafford was doing a great job slinging the ball last season before breaking bones in his back in a game against Oakland on Nov. 3.
Stafford was leading the NFL with 2,499 passing yards at the time of his injury and led the league in passes completed of 25 yards or more.
Entering his 12th season in the NFL after being selected No. 1 by Detroit in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford said he’s completely healed from a back injury that forced him to miss the final eight games of last season.
The NFL announced last week that team can re-open facilities, albeit, without coaches and players. The NFL is expected to announced league protocols next week involving the teams’ return, per The Denver Post.
The Lions are looking for a big bounce back season with Stafford back under center. Detroit lost all eight games after he was sidelined by the back injury.
Swift enters into a backfield that includes former SEC stars Kerryon Johnson (Auburn) and Bo Scarbrough (Alabama).
Stafford indicated there will be plenty of work for everyone.
“I think as far as adding another guy to the backfield, I think it’s huge,” Stafford said. “In the NFL, running backs get dinged up, beat up here and there throughout a season, and really throughout games.
“So the more guys you can have back there that can carry the rock and do a good job for you, the better off you’re going to be.”
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— Overtime (@overtime) May 15, 2020