Shutdown Corner - NFL

I don't think anyone's on the brink of a riot or anything, or that it would even measure up to the supposed "schism" the Vikings are dealing with because of Brett Favre(notes), but it seems that the veterans in the Lions locker room would have preferred that Daunte Culpepper(notes) was handed the football.

Tom Kowalski of mlive.com described the room as "somber" and "bittersweet" in light of Stafford being tabbed the guy. Here's a snippet:

Culpepper has shown that he can play again and he's also shown that he's got a lot of leadership skills and that guys will follow him.

The veterans felt bad for Culpepper and their words were measured because they had a hard time rejoicing in the celebration of a new quarterback era in Detroit when one of their own was suffering from stinging disappointment.

To be clear, it's not that anyone doesn't like Matthew Stafford(notes). All indications are that the veterans appreciate Stafford's abilities and like the way he handles himself.

The only way this matters is if the veterans feel like Culpepper gives them a better shot to win, and that's why they're upset. If that's the case, I'd say Schwartz made absolutely the wrong decision, because the guys in that locker room working had every day deserve the best possible chance to win.

But there's no indication in Kowalski's report that that's the case, even though Culpepper's preseason numbers were superior to Stafford's.

I say we file this one under the category of, "Hey, it's a business and feelings get hurt," and move on. It impresses me that Culpepper has gained that level of respect in the locker room, and I certainly don't begrudge any of the Lions for feeling bad for a guy who suffered through 0-16 with them last year, and then worked so hard to get better this year.

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