Matthew Stafford back in Detroit for groundbreaking of new community center

When Matthew Stafford left Detroit for greener pastures with the Rams, he promised his work in our city wasn't done. And Friday (April 22), he kept that promise just months after hoisting the Lombardi trophy, and it's something that'll impact the city for years to come.

DETROIT – When Matthew Stafford left Detroit and the Lions for greener pastures with the Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams, he promised his work in the city wasn’t done.

On Friday, he kept that promise just months after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and it’s something that’ll impact the city for years to come.

“I know a lot of people have come out just to look at Matthew and Kelly and see what a Super Bowl winner actually looks like because we’re probably never going to see that in our lifetime,” said Say Detroit Founder Mitch Albom.

Stafford has perfected the sheepish smile when he gets ribbed by Detroiters about winning the Super Bowl in his first season away from Detroit.

But he and his wife, Kelly Stafford, haven’t cut ties with Detroit since moving to Los Angeles. It’s been quite the contrary, as evidenced Friday at Say Detroit’s Say Play Center at Lipke Park. The Stafford’s have committed another $1 million to revitalize the community center, which coincidently has a football field outside, state-of-the-art amenities inside, plus a new education center.

“We jumped at the opportunity to be a part of that first center that is this beautiful place right now,” said Matthew Stafford. “I’m just so proud to see where that is going, how many kids that it’s affected in such a positive way, and I’m so excited to be a part of this next venture as well.”

When Matthew Stafford and the Rams won the Super Bowl, it meant a lot to many in the city of Detroit. The winning quarterback said the support meant a lot to him as well.

“It’s just more a testament to them than it is to me,” Matthew Stafford said. “I tried to go there and play as good as I could, give it everything that I had over 12 years, and the support I got from them was unbelievable, and it still is, to be honest with you.”

Judging by the smiles seen on the kid’s faces at Friday’s event, Matthew Stafford’s impact is still being felt today.

“Meeting someone that’s impacted the community a lot and then seeing them in real life, seeing someone that’s done stuff that people said that they couldn’t, it’s like an amazing experience,” said Solomon Stepp.


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.