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NFL quarterback Matthew Stafford reveals 'tough times' since wife's brain surgery

The Detroit Lions quarterback recently returned to offseason practice after caring for his wife, Kelly, who had surgery to remove a tumor.
Matthew and Kelly Stafford
Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has returned to the field but admits he's now handling more than just football, as his wife, Kelly, continues to recover from brain surgery.

"Situations like this change your perspective on a lot of things," Stafford said Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time since his wife's operation last month.

"It kind of puts stuff where it should be. But it's been good. Like I said, I'm just happy to be out here throwing the ball around to some really talented guys, having some fun, playing some ball," Stafford told reporters following a practice session.

Kelly Stafford revealed in an April 3 Instagram post that doctors discovered a brain tumor that was sitting on her cranial nerves. She underwent a 12-hour procedure two weeks later and has since shared various photos and videos of her recovery, a journey that included a trip back to the hospital last month.

She most recently posted a photo of the couple attending the wedding of close friends. The weekend jaunt left her "struggling" afterward, but Kelly said the celebration "was completely and totally worth it."

Stafford declined to give additional updates on his wife. "I think she does a pretty good job of keeping you guys posted," he said.

The quarterback, who missed the first week of his team's offseason training program to be with his wife, said some days have been more difficult at practice than others. When Kelly has a good night, "I was here loving it," he said. Other days were rougher.

"(When) Kelly had a bad night, I was trying to get home as fast as I can. It's been up and down, just as we kind of expected it to be," he said. "But like I said, everybody here has been extremely, extremely supportive, and so have my teammates have been great, too. They understand. They know that I'm committed, I'm dedicated to this team and our future and our season, but at the same time a lot of those guys have families, too, and understand how important that is as well."

Stafford thanked his mother-in-law for helping to care for his wife and the couple's three children. She has helped so much that Kelly was "telling me to get the heck out of the house and go take care of what I needed to take care of" at work.

"There's been some long days and some tough times," Stafford shared. "But we've had a ton of help and a ton of support. It's been overwhelming for her, and me, and our whole family. We really appreciate it. She's tough. She's doing a heck of a job keeping it all together."

Stafford said despite everything demanding his attention these days, he remains focused on the field.

"When I'm here, I'm here. There's maybe some time before practice in the locker room or something, just checking in, making sure everything's OK. But when I'm out here I've got to be locked in," he said.

"I feel like (I've had) a lot of practice at my position being able to kind of compartmentalize what's going on. And if I'm out here thinking about something else it's going to be an ugly day for the offense so I'm trying to do everything I can to be locked in."