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Staying in Detroit a priority for Stafford

After agreeing to terms on an extension that makes him the highest paid player in the NFL Monday night, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford stayed up watching TV with wife Kelly for a little while before turning in early so he could be back in Allen Park at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, like he is every morning.

No party. No big celebrations. No night out on the town.

"That's just who he is," backup quarterback Jake Rudock said of Stafford.

View photos from Matthew Stafford's press conference to discuss his new contract.

The Lions and their veteran signal caller agreed on a new five-year extension Monday night that keeps Stafford in Detroit through the 2022 season.

"I work extremely hard no matter what my salary is," Stafford said. "It's just part of what comes with the position of playing quarterback in this league and playing it at a high level and that's what I strive to do.

"I don't do that for anything other than the guys in the locker room and the coaching staff that puts in all the hard work to get us ready to play, and my teammates."

Stafford, 29, already holds franchise passing records for yards (30,303), completions (2,634), attempts (4,285) and touchdowns (187). He's coming off his sixth-straight 4,000-yard passing season, and declined an invitation to the Pro Bowl as an alternate to rest the finger injury he suffered Week 14 vs. Chicago and played through the rest of the season.

"He embodies everything we want in a Lion," general manager Bob Quinn said. "He's a great teammate, he's tough, he's competitive, he has tremendous work ethic. He's one of the first guys in the building every day and I think he's a great example for our young players."

Last year, Stafford led an NFL-record eight come-from-behind victories as the Lions finished 9-7 and made the playoffs as a wild card for the third time in the last six seasons.

He now gets at least six more seasons to try and take the Lions to further heights.

He said early on in the negotiation process that he made it clear to both Quinn and his representation (agent Tom Condon) that he wanted to be in Detroit for the long term. He said Tuesday that he's very comfortable with owner Martha Firestone Ford and the whole Ford family ownership, and likes where the organization is heading under Quinn's guidance.

"I've made Detroit my home," Stafford said. "Obviously, I have a family now. You can hear them in the background (as one of his twin daughters started fussing a little at the press conference). I've really enjoyed it.

"I've learned to embrace everything good and bad about the city. That's what's great about the people of Detroit. It's not always perfect, but the fabric of the city is amazing and it's a really tight-knit community. I've enjoyed my time and I know I'm going to enjoy the next six years and hopefully more after that."

Like the city, Stafford has been through both good and bad with the Lions over the last eight years, but he sees a lot more good coming down the road over the next six years.

"I love playing here," Stafford said. "I'm going to continue to love playing here. I consider myself lucky to be part of it and I'm just happy I can continue for another six, at least."

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