Stafford weighs in on Quinn hire, Johnson's future

Matthew Stafford is more than an interested bystander as the Lions begin their offseason with the arrival of new general manager Bob Quinn, the likely departure of star receiver Calvin Johnson and the uncertainty of head coach Jim Caldwell's future in Detroit.

In an appearance on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR-760 Tuesday evening, Stafford gave his support for Quinn, reiterated how much he likes playing for Caldwell and added his perspective on the serious possibility that Johnson will retire from football.

Quinn said at his introductory press conference Monday that the decision on whether to retain Caldwell is "mine alone," but said he had no timetable on making a decision. It is likely that Quinn and Caldwell met for the first time Tuesday at the team's Allen Park headquarters.

Stafford said he was out of town and has not spoken to Quinn. He also said he has not heard of Quinn, who spent all 16 of his seasons working mostly in scouting and player personnel for the New England Patriots.

"I look forward to talking to him and meeting him sometime soon," Stafford said on the Albom Show. "He seems to have put a lot of work into studying the personnel, not only in the NFL but the college level. That's going to go a long way. He seems like he's comfortable in his own skin and knows what he wants to do. That's promising.

"I know we'll give him all the support we can and help him out any way we can to make him as successful as possible.

"This is all about winning."

Stafford has never wavered in supporting Caldwell, and he did so again Tuesday in his first interview since talking to the media after the final game in Chicago. He came out strongly in favor of retaining Caldwell and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

He was asked only about Caldwell on the Albom Show, but it is logical that Cooter's future in Detroit is linked to Caldwell's.

"The biggest thing for me is knowing what kind of person he (Caldwell) is and what kind of coach he is," Stafford said. "To me, he's as good as I have ever played for. He's a really good coach.

"Obviously, it's not my decision, and I understand the idea of meshing out -- make sure the front office meshes with the coaching staff.

"I understand that. I just know that I really do enjoy playing for coach Caldwell."

According to numerous reports, Johnson has made it known to teammates and others he is close to that he is giving strong consideration to retiring. He has taken numerous hits in his nine pro seasons, all with the Lions, and he has played through considerable pain in recent seasons.

Johnson said he would consider his options in a statement released by the team last week. Lions management also released a statement supporting Johnson's desire to consider his future.

"Any time Calvin says something, it's not for show," Stafford said on the Albom Show. "It's something serious. He's a pretty measured person. Everything that he says to the public is a thought-out thing.

"In that regard, I'm sure it's thought out. I have had conversations with him. I respect his privacy and his time to think.

"I think everything he wanted to say is what he put out in that statement. We'll see where his head is at and what he's thinking."

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