Lions

Stafford Praises Detroit Fans, Teammates In ESPY Speech

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Head Coach Jim Schwartz talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions during a game against the New Orleans Saints to score a touchdown at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Head Coach Jim Schwartz talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions during a game against the New Orleans Saints to score a touchdown at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) As the famous “Made in Detroit” Super Bowl ad said — Detroit knows a thing or two about making a comeback.

And so do some of our sports heroes.

The Lions’ Matthew Stafford won the ESPY award Wednesday for Best Comeback Athlete, beating out the all-star likes of tennis star Maria Sharapova, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Mets pitcher Johan Santana.

Stafford’s first two seasons were cut short by injuries, but since then he’s become only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards.

During his acceptance speech, he credited the rest of his team and the people in charge of the Lions for his success.

“I just want to thank my teammates,” he said. “It was a long couple of years and they stuck with me — the coaching staff, the owners, the GM, everybody. I can’t thank them enough for sticking with me, trusting me and understanding something great can happen.”

And then he deflected personal praise and turned it back on Detroit sports fans.

“I just want to say how thankful I am to share this with the city of Detroit that’s on a comeback of its own. The city has been through a lot and we’re just one of the teams there that are trying to make them happy and proud, give them something to cheer for.”

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