With the Lions announcing Matt Stafford as their starting QB questions were raised as to the ongoing status of veteran, Daunte Culpepper. More than a few cynics mentioned that he’d be unlikely to stay around.
He was signed by the Lions on November 4, 2008 and started in five games with Detroit in their 2008 completing 60-of-115 passes for 786 yards and six touchdowns before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his season.
Injury has dogged his career, since a blown out knee ended his 2005 season after just seven games for the Vikings. He had unsuccessful spells with Miami and Oakland before joining the Lions.
Perhaps along the way he learned the warrior’s humility, for the young man answered the cynicism with real class today saying:
“Now that the debate is over and the decision has been made regarding the starting quarterback in Detroit, I would like to make the following statement today so that tomorrow I can put all of my energy into helping our team prepare for our opponent.
“The reason I agreed to restructure my contract in order to stay in Detroit was because I knew that I would have a chance to have a full off-season for the first time in over three years. I also knew that I would have an opportunity to finally compete against whoever the Lions brought in whether via free agency, trade or the draft.
“When the Lions selected Matthew Stafford first overall I was excited. My position is that if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Coach Schwartz gave me a fair opportunity to compete for the starting job and now the decision has been made that Matt is the best quarterback in Detroit. I support the decision and I am ready to settle into my role.
“Matt is a great guy and a talented young quarterback. I am confident that he will lead this team to plenty of victories in Detroit for a long time to come.
“I look forward to helping Matt in that mission in any way that I can this year. My role as his back-up is not to be seen unless needed and not to be heard from unless required. The Lions organization has treated me with respect and class and they can expect the same from me.”
Mr Culpepper, I tip my cap to you sir.
Proud to have you on the Lions. True leaders do not need to be in front.