Lions, Stafford agree to $53 million extension

Updated 10 July 2013
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Lions, Stafford agree to $53 million extension

DETROIT: Matthew Stafford’s career with the Detroit Lions just got longer.
Stafford and the Lions have agreed to terms on a $53 million, three-year extension to keep him under contract through 2017, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person, who spoke Tuesday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced, said Stafford will make $41.5 million in guarantees as part of a new contract.
Detroit drafted Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and signed him to a six-year contract worth as much as $78 million with $41.7 million in guarantees. After two injury-shortened seasons, he helped the franchise reach the playoffs two years ago for the first time in more than a decade.
A month ago, Stafford vowed that he would focus on football while his agent and the team negotiated.
“I don’t play this game to get contracts,” he said in June. “I play this game to win games.”
The Lions didn’t do much of that last year, losing their last eight games to flop to a 4-12 record after a 10-win season.
Stafford threw more interceptions and had less than half as many touchdown passes in 2012 as he did the previous year.
After playing in just 13 games over two seasons, he flourished in his first full year with 41 TD passes while completing 64 percent of his attempts and throwing 16 touchdowns.
He stayed on the field last season, but his passing percentage dipped as did his TD passes (20) while he threw one more interception.

“Matt’s not happy with last year,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said during last month’s minicamp. “None of us were happy with last year, but you also can’t overreact.”

Stafford has spent much of this offseason splitting time between his home in suburban Detroit and team headquarters, after working out and rehabilitating injuries elsewhere in previous years.

He has looked back to analyze the previous season, seeing when it was good to take chances with passes and when it wasn’t while the losses piled up after climbing to .500 midway through the season.

“It was a total, learning experience just because it was a tough year,” Stafford said. “You have to find a way to battle through it.”


Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their third goal. (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Champions League

  • adrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.
  • Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.

KIEV, Ukraine: Gareth Bale’s eye-catching scissor-kick helped Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League title on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over a Liverpool side thwarted by a pair of goalkeeping blunders and Mohamed Salah being forced off injured.

Bale’s jaw-dropping overhead kick put Real 2-1 up moments after his introduction, following a dramatic start to the second half in which Karim Benzema gave Real the lead as a result of a Loris Karius howler.

Sadio Mane had briefly restored parity, but Bale put Real in front again and then made it 3-1 late on with a long-range strike that the unfortunate Karius could only punch into the net.

Jurgen Klopp’s and Liverpool’s own evening was marred by the loss of a distraught Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, the Egyptian coming off half an hour in having damaged his shoulder.

This was not to be Salah’s night, with Real allowing Zinedine Zidane to become the first coach ever to win the Champions League three years in a row.

Madrid is the first team to achieve that feat since Bayern Munich in 1976. This is their fourth title in five years, and their 13th overall.

Cristiano Ronaldo has now won five in his great career, but even he could not argue that this was Bale’s evening.

The Welshman had been tipped to feature in the Real starting line-up but in the end was left out for Isco — just as he had been in the final win over Juventus last year — before making an emphatic impact as a substitute.

For Liverpool, this game will be remembered for the disaster that befell goalkeeper Karius in the second half, and for Salah’s tears as he departed the pitch at the NSC Olympiyskyi.

The Egyptian hurt his left shoulder as he went down in a challenge with Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute. Five minutes later he made way for Adam Lallana.

His presence at the World Cup could now be in doubt, as could that of Dani Carvajal — the Real right-back came off with a hamstring injury before the interval.

Those injuries temporarily took the sting out of the game after an enthralling start, with Liverpool on top.

It had been uncomfortable for Real, but after Salah departed, they sensed their chance. They even had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute, only to be denied by a marginal offside call.

Ronaldo’s header from Isco’s cross was parried by Karius, and Benzema turned in the loose ball, but the Frenchman had come from a fraction ahead of the last defender and the flag came up.

If that was a let-off for Liverpool, they were their own worst enemies at the start of the second half.

Isco struck the bar after Lallana diverted the ball into his path, before Benzema opened the scoring in the 51st minute.

It was a moment of unbelievable carelessness from Karius, who attempted to roll the ball out to the nearest red shirt only for Benzema to stick out a leg and send it trickling into the net.

Klopp’s side really could have let their heads drop, and yet they were soon back level, Mane turning the ball in after Dejan Lovren headed down James Milner’s corner.

But their renewed hope was crushed upon the introduction of Bale.

The Welshman had been on the field barely two minutes when he met Marcelo’s cross from the left with an improbable leap, back to goal, 15 yards out, to send an overhead kick on his left foot arcing over Karius and in.

Such a strike deserved to be the winner, although it was his long-range shot that beat the embarrassed Karius in the 83rd minute that made sure of the victory.

Mane hit the post for Liverpool in between Bale’s strikes, but they will have to wait a while yet before winning their sixth European Cup.