Stafford to Lions: 50 years in the making

In his first mock draft, NFL.com’s Steve Wyche has the Detroit Lions taking Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Makes sense to Stafford, according to the Detroit Free Press.

    “I don’t know if it’s destiny, but I’d love to have the opportunity to be a Lion, for sure,” Stafford said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me. It could work out in the end, for sure.”

The destiny part has to do with Bobby Layne, the Lions quarterback who when traded to Pittsburgh in 1958 — the year after leading Detroit to its last championship — supposedly put a curse on his old team, saying the Lions wouldn’t win for 50 years. The newspaper points out that Detroit has only one playoff win and one Pro Bowl quarterback since Layne was traded.

The interesting part, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt points out, is that Stafford (a neighbor of Brandt’s in the greater Dallas area) went to the same high school as Layne, football-powerhouse Highland Park High. So did Doak Walker, who followed in Layne’s cleats at Highland Park in 1944.

(Brandt also notes that three top prospects, who could all go in the top five picks, went to high schools within seven miles of each other in the Dallas area — Stafford, Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree and Baylor tackle Jason Smith. “I don’t think that’s ever happened before,” Brandt said.)

Like Layne, Walker enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the Lions. Question is, will Stafford be next?

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