At age 35, Matthew is looking for ways to connect with his younger teammates on the Los Angeles Rams, his wife Kelly says
At age 35, Matthew Stafford is looking for ways to connect with his younger teammates on the Los Angeles Rams, his wife Kelly Stafford says.
On the recent episode of her podcast The Morning After with Kelly Stafford, the mother of four shared that on the eve of the 2023 season, her quarterback husband is trying to adapt to the influx of new players on the team.
"It's kind of crazy,” Kelly said on the podcast, via ESPN. “So, Matthew's been in the league a long time. He's like, 'The difference in the locker room has changed so significantly.' They have a lot of rookies on their team, they're very young. But he's like, 'I feel like I can't connect.' "
Despite winning the Super Bowl in 2022, the Rams have a new-look roster due to trades and free agency — and drafting 14 new players in the NFL Draft, per ESPN.
Yet the Texas native is determined to form a rapport with the new guys in the locker room — even if they are more attuned to their phones than interested in any bonding, his wife said.
"They say 'sir' to him and s---," Kelly shared. "He's like, 'No, we're on the same level here, we're both playing in the league. Let me get to know you.' He said it's so different and so hard to get to know these guys. He had a book printed out. He had the equipment guy get a book printed of all their faces, and all their names, 'cause he's like, 'I need to know their names.' We need to talk, so I'm gonna find their names and I'm gonna say, 'Hey so-and-so, how was your weekend?' So, they know I know them and maybe we should get to know each other so there's chemistry on the field.'”
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All of which has the play-caller wondering if he should call an audible, Kelly added.
"In the old days you'd come out of practice, you'd shower, and people would be playing cards, interacting,” she said. “Who knows what they're doing, but they're doing something together. Playing ping-pong, they have a tournament going on. They'd at least be talking. But now they get out of practice, and meetings during training camp, and they go straight to their phones. No one looks up from their phones. Matthew's like, 'I don't know ... am I the dad? Do I take their phones? What do I do here?' He's like, 'I want them to see me not as a coach.' "
She added, "But I think nowadays, it's really hard to develop that because all these young kids, they don't care. Or it's not that they don't care, but they're so used to going straight to their phones instead of having some fun with some guys in the locker room. It's different. It's kind of sad."
A recent attempt to hold a team party was a washout when the Staffords’ home flooded due to Tropical Storm Hilary, she said, but she has an idea for another way for the Rams to bond.
"I would set it up so that the players have a box that they can all go to this [Messi] game so that they can hang out," she said, and then referenced her husband’s former team. "The Lions always had events and were good at that. So, when you lose or you win, it feels like it doesn't mean as much because your team isn't connected like they used to be.
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