Lions QB Matthew Stafford reportedly played with a broken back last season

At least we have a reason for Matthew Stafford’s decline last season.

The Detroit Lions quarterback reportedly played with broken bones in his back.

That news was relayed by Mike O’Hara, a longtime Lions writer who now works for the team site, on a weekly podcast with WJR’s Ken Brown. It was confirmed later by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Stafford had an off season, and it seemed it was due to a change in coaches or a midseason trade of his top receiver, Golden Tate. That seemed to be the least of his problems.

Matthew Stafford reportedly had multiple fractures

Both O’Hara and Rapoport described Stafford suffering multiple fractures.

“He had a broken back last year," O’Hara said, via "Broken bones in his back.”

Rapoport described it as “tiny fractures.” Stafford appeared on the injury report with a back injury late in the season, but it had not been revealed that his injuries were as serious as they were. It’s unclear when he suffered the injury.

Usually, when a player plays through something that serious, it gets reported shortly after the season is done. It might say something about Stafford that it only came out in mid-June, in what appeared to be an offhand comment by a team website writer on a podcast.

Stafford didn’t miss a game last season.

Matthew Stafford with his family
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Matthew Stafford with his family
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, right, smiles while watches the Detroit Pistons play the Cleveland Cavaliers with his wife Kelly, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Kelly Stafford, wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, holds the couple's twins Sawyer, left, and Chandler during pre-game of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Detroit. Kelly Stafford plans to have surgery to remove a brain tumor. Stafford shared the details Wednesday, April 3, 2019, on her Instagram account. She says an MRI showed the tumor on cranial nerves after she had vertigo spells within the last year. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)
There are honestly no words for what I have felt in the past few days. I am beyond grateful and just want to thank everyone who has reached out with their support and especially with prayers for me and my family In these past few days. The ability to connect and support each other is what makes social media such an amazing thing. I truly am beyond grateful. I am going to take some time away from social media so that I can focus on what’s most important in life.. my family. Thank y’all so much again for all of the support and prayers, it means more than you will ever know. Until then. ✌🏻and ❤️
Being the #1 man in four girls’ lives can be exhausting.. but you make it look easy and I’m so grateful for that!!
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, center, and girlfriend Kelly Hall, right, laugh at a friend while watching an NBA basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, right, and Kelly Hall arrive at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
So fun getting to see all of our friends and family while being back in atl for such a short time! Exhausted and ready for my girls.
2009 VS 2019 #10yearchallenge #dontknowwhatitis #butikeepseeingit #so🤷🏼‍♀️ #kidshaveagedme #andmadematthewhotter #wtf
Another Christmas in the books. Planning to sleep until the New Year.. if @staffordsistersquad will let me. ✌🏻
Just a little Christmas preview on this beautiful Sunday. #hunterhopestafford

Stafford had a down 2018

Stafford is coming off a poor year. He threw for 3,777 yards, almost 700 fewer than 2017. His touchdowns dipped from 29 to 21. As passing stats exploded around the NFL, Stafford’s 89.9 passer rating was his worst since 2014.

On the surface it seemed like a philosophical change with new coach Matt Patricia hurt, or Stafford simply didn’t have enough targets to throw to after the Tate trade. The injury explains some things.

And to think, the entire offseason almost passed without anyone hearing about what Stafford played through last season.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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