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NFL investigating Lions for possible injury report violation with Matthew Stafford

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Columnist

It came as a surprise to many when Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was declared out for the team’s game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday; news came via ESPN around 9 a.m. ET on the day of the game.

Stafford had been limited in practice in the days leading up to Sunday and had been listed as questionable on the final injury report; by definition, questionable means a player has a 50-50 chance of suiting up.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, citing a league source, wrote on Monday afternoon that the NFL is investigating whether the Lions violated league protocol by using the questionable designation.

Birkett reported that head coach Matt Patricia, general manager Bob Quinn and players offered differing timelines of when they learned Stafford wouldn’t be playing against the Bears.

Thanks to fractures in his back, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford could only watch as the Lions lost to the Bears on Sunday. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Patricia and Quinn said it wasn’t decided until Sunday morning, after personnel arrived at the stadium. Players indicated that Patricia had told the team “earlier in the day” on Saturday that the franchise QB couldn’t play.

Stafford has fractured bones in his back from a hit suffered in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Birkett’s league source said a review is standard in situations like this.

Stafford downplayed the injury last week, and he took first-team reps in practice. His streak of 136 consecutive starts ended, and Detroit, with Jeff Driskel starting, lost to the Bears to fall to 3-5-1.

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